White defeats Bray, elected sheriff in Perquimans
By Peter Williams
The Perquimans Weekly
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
HERTFORD — Shelby White won election as Perquimans County sheriff Tuesday, fending off a strong challenge from Republican Jim Bray, according to unofficial election results.
White, a Democrat who was appointed sheriff in 2017, won the only contested race on Tuesday’s election ballot in Perquimans, where turnout, as in other area counties, was high. In early voting alone, 3,000 voters cast ballots, or about a third of the county’s 10,000 voters.
White collected 2,836 votes or 52 percent to Bray’s 2,618 or 48 percent. White carried four of the county’s seven precincts. He also won early voting, collecting 1,649 votes to Bray’s 1,444.
In a statement on Facebook, White thanked his voters for their support.
“Thank you is not enough for the love and support that has been shown in the last year, as we worked forward to this day,” White said. “I will continue to strive everyday to protect and serve all of the residents of this county with the utmost integrity and dignity that you should expect from the sheriff.”
Bray said on Facebook that the race had made him a better person.
“I would to like to thank my supporters for a very enthusiastic and invigorating campaign,” he said. “Congratulations to my opponent for his win. I know that this campaign has made me not only a better candidate, but a better citizen of Perquimans County. I will still support the citizens of this county in the spirit of my values and the values of the people that supported me throughout this campaign. And even though I may have had disagreements with some, I hope that we can all move forward together and work together for an improved way of life for our citizens.”
White, who has worked for the Perquimans Sheriff’s Office for nearly two decades, was appointed to the sheriff’s job by the Perquimans Board of Commissioners following former Sheriff Eric Tilley’s retirement in 2017.
Bray, who was making his first bid for public office, retired from the N.C. Highway Patrol earlier this year.
Also elected in Perquimans on Tuesday were three commissioner candidates who ran unopposed for three seats. Incumbents Wallace Nelson, a Republican, collected 3,454 votes and Fondella Leigh, a Democrat, garnered 1,640 votes. Alan Lennon, a Libertarian candidate, won the third seat with 281 votes.
Voter turnout for Tuesday’s election in Perquimans was 54.59 percent.
Voting in Perquimans went smoothly for much of the day. The only hiccup happened when a power outage forced election officials at the county’s largest polling site to issue voters paper ballots for about an hour.
Elections Director Holly Hunter said about 100 Bethel precinct voters had to vote by paper ballot as a result of the outage, which was caused by a downed power pole. All 100 ballots were scanned when the county’s votes are tallied Tuesday night, she said.
Hunter said earlier on Tuesday she did not anticipate the power outage would cause a delay in determining and reporting election results.
“That shouldn’t hold us up too much,” she predicted.
Both Bray and White raised and spent more than $40,000 on the race, according to their latest campaign reports.