Nearly 20 percent of Polk voters turn out for primary

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Winners respond following last week’s election victories

COLUMBUS — Nearly 20 percent of Polk County voters turned out for last week’s primary election, which narrowed the field to two candidates vying for sheriff in November.

Polk County has a total of 15,826 registered voters, with 3,028 — or 19.13 percent — voting in last week’s primary, which took place May 8.

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In the election, Polk voters selected B.J. Bayne for the Polk County Sheriff Democrat nominee and Tim Wright for the Polk County Sheriff Republican nominee. The two will face off in November’s general election for the position.

Bayne received a total of 1,148 votes over Ronnie Smith’s 345 votes, according to unofficial results from the Polk County Board of Elections.

“I am extremely honored to have been selected as a nominee for Polk County sheriff,” Bayne said. “I am grateful that you all have placed your trust and entitled me to represent so many wonderful people of this county. I am continuing to ask everyone for your help and support in helping me become your next sheriff.”

Wright received 748 votes over Darryl Bailey’s 713 votes, according to unofficial results from the Polk County Board of Elections.

“I am honored to represent the Republican Party as their nominee for the November election,” Wright said. “I would like to thank all the voters who came out to vote, regardless of who you voted for, thank you for taking the time to do so. I would like to thank Darryl Bailey, who ran a respectful and honest campaign.

“Our race was close, as many thought it would be, and I could not have asked for a better opponent to run against in the primary. I appreciate the support that I have received throughout this process since deciding to run for sheriff of Polk County. I look forward to a respectful general election and sharing my qualifications and ideas with the great people of Polk County.”

The board of elections will meet at 10 a.m. Tuesday for the sample audit count, at 10 a.m. Friday for the provisional ballot count and at 11 a.m. Friday for the 2018 primary canvass meeting, when the voting will become official.

Bayne won every precinct in both early voting and on Election Day over Smith.

Wright won all but the precincts of Coopers Gap and Green Creek, winning over Bailey in Columbus 1, Columbus 2, Saluda, Tryon and White Oak. Bailey beat Wright by one vote on Election Day, with Bailey receiving 472 votes on Tuesday and Wright receiving 471 votes.

The two will face off on Tuesday, Nov. 6, in the general election, alongside another local race for Polk County commissioner. Five candidates seek three seats on the Polk County Board of Commissioners, including incumbents Ray Gasperson (D) and Tommy Melton (R), as well as challengers Carolyn Ashburn (D), Chrelle Booker (D) and Paul Beiler (R).