After Record Turnout Charlottesville Democrats Announce Nominees
Aug 21, 2011 07:06 PM EDT
The unofficial results are in for Charlottesville's Democratic primary. After a record turnout of 2,582 votes, the results show, Charlottesville Democrats have chosen incumbent Satyendra S. Huja, Kathleen M. Galvin, and Deirdre "Dede" Smith to be the party's nominees on the November ballot for city council.
The Charlottesville Democrats released the results just before 1:30 a.m. on Sunday, making it a long day for volunteers at Burley Middle School. The turnout was a 60 percent jump from the last primary in 2009.
Breaking down the votes - 1,548 voters ranked Satyendra Huja in their top three. Kathy Galvin came in second with 1,491. Those two, with the majority of votes, won the party's nomination in the first round of counting. Because no other candidates received a majority, the counting continued all the way until round five, when Dede Smith narrowly beat out Paul Beyer by a margin of just 29 votes.
There was a much simpler outcome in the circuit court clerk's race. Llezelle Dugger took in 62 percent of the vote, more than incumbent Paul Garrett and Pam Melampy combined.
Dugger, who beat out Paul Garrett, the current clerk of court who had held the position for 30 years said, "I want to thank Mr. Garrett for his 30 years of service to the city, and he ran a classic campaign, and so my hat's off to him."
The numbers were too close for city council candidate Beyer, who was not so thrilled with the primary tally. In the early hours Sunday morning after the results were announced Beyer said, "We need to count these things in the morning and just make sure that we've got things exactly the way they should be."
The Democratic committee spent Sunday recounting those votes, a procedure the party planned to do anyway, just to validate the results.
"I think we did a very careful job in counting the ballots, and I certainly don't anticipate that any further examination would show any change in the totals," said Charlottesville Democrats Co-Chair Jim Nix.
Saturday's primary results could show how a future council will proceed on hot button issues like the Meadow Creek Parkway and the 50 Year Water Supply Plan. Two of the three winners, incumbent Satyendra Huja and Kathy Galvin, are opposed to revisiting those issues. "They want to see us get beyond the endless, endless discussions and debates about plans and proposals and projects that had been settled upon by previous councils years and years ago," said Galvin.
The losers in Saturday's primary still have the option to run as an Independent. Candidates have until Tuesday night to file paperwork to run as an Independent for Charlottesville City Council or the Charlottesville Circuit Court Clerk's Office. Those candidates must collect 125 signatures of support.
Derick Waller joined the NBC 29 news team in August, 2010. Prior to this, Derick graduated with degrees in both broadcast journalism and political science from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Email/Follow on Twitter/ Full Story