In the Republican runoff election for the Jackson County Sheriff primary election, candidate Curtis Lambert defeated Jimmy Hodgins. The North Carolina Board of Elections website reported that out of 15,243 eligible ballots in Jackson County, 239 or 1.57 percent were cast.
Lambert, who, at 424 votes received the most votes during the May primary election, once again beat out Hodgins in the runoff with 129 votes. Although Lambert received the majority of the votes in May, he did not procure the 40 percent of votes needed to secure his place on the November ballot. Hodgins, who garnered 376 votes in May, requested the run-off election that wrapped up Tuesday night.
“I am very thankful for those who came out and voted in the runoff election and yet disappointed in such an important race that affects every citizen that there was not better turnout,”said Lambert Wednesday morning. “The difficult thing about winning this election is that both candidate Hodgins and I along with candidate [Mary] Rock agree that there is a real need for change at the sheriff’s office.”
Lambert will now go into November facing Chip Hall, the Democratic candidate who secured his place on the ballot in May.
“Today voters in Jackson County have a choice,” said Lambert. “The differences between Chip Hall and myself are clear. Chip Hall has been the second highest ranking law enforcement officer in the Jackson County for the past several years and has had numerous opportunities to institute many of the changes that he now says he wants to do. I developed a plan to address issues for the future of the sheriff’s office with a national public safety expert. As your sheriff I will continue to explore ‘best practices’ for law enforcement, for the benefit of our citizens.”
Despite less than two percent of voters coming out for the run-off election, the Jackson County Board of Elections had to conduct the election the same as any other. Meaning onestop voting was available the days leading up to the election and all 14 precincts in the county were open on Tuesday. Lisa Lovedahl, director of the Board of Elections estimated earlier this year that the run-off election was going to cost taxpayers anywhere between $20,000-$35,000. With 239 votes, and estimating the election cost on the low end of $20,000, that is more than $83 per participating voter to hold the election.