• Mitchell County Board of Elections members Greg McKinney, left, Shane Biddix, center, and Luther Stroup, right, unload an M100 tabulator at the Board of Elections office Tuesday, May 8, after the polls closed. Ballots are fed through the M100 and votes are counted. The board members are removing the card containing the final count.
    Mitchell County Board of Elections members Greg McKinney, left, Shane Biddix, center, and Luther Stroup, right, unload an M100 tabulator at the Board of Elections office Tuesday, May 8, after the polls closed. Ballots are fed through the M100 and votes are counted. The board members are removing the card containing the final count.

Pitman, Grindstaff, Harding win Primary

Two people seeking their first term on the Mitchell County Board of Commissioners and one incumbent won the May 8 Primary in Mitchell County while another incumbent lost his seat.

Four candidates were vying for three seats during the Primary and newcomers Steve Pitman and Jeff Harding joined incumbent Matthew “Vern” Grindstaff as the winners. Incumbent Ken Hollifield lost his bid for re-election.

The three winners were ahead when the first ballots were tallied. A total of 959 early votes were cast and 22 mail-in absentee ballots counted that had Grindstaff (521 votes), Pitman (509 votes) and Harding (490 votes) ahead of incumbent Ken Hollifield (252 votes). 

After the ballots from all nine precincts were counted, Pitman emerged as the top vote-getter with 1,333 votes, Grindstaff a close second with 1,279 votes and Harding totaled 1,115 votes. Hollifield finished with 680 votes.

“Let me start by thanking everyone from the Board of Elections, poll volunteers, candidate volunteers and everyone who came out to vote,” Pitman said after the win. “I am learning in this process but I was able to see firsthand the amount of work that goes into election day and all those folks should be recognized for doing an outstanding job. I am humbled and overjoyed by the support given to me by the citizens of Mitchell County. I think the coming election in November is a pivotal time for the future of Mitchell County. I am excited to be a part of the change and look forward, if elected, to the opportunity to work with the citizens and leaders of the county to make a difference.”

Grindstaff is chair of the Board of Commissioners and is seeking his second term. 

“I am humbled and grateful that the people have extended me the courtesy to continue serving them and providing services to what I consider the best people on the planet,” Grindstaff said. “I have had many people tell me they’re glad I won.”

Harding was previously elected to the Mitchell County Board of Education, but this was his first time running for a seat on the board of commissioners.

“I am honored and tired,” he said after the election. “I think how we handled our campaign was positive and I think that helped. I received 253 text messages between the close of the polls and Wednesday morning. I am overwhelmed, exhausted and, to be honest, a little emotional.”

The three Primary winners will be on the General Election ballot in November along with Democratic candidate Bruce Koran and unaffiliated candidate Aaron Buchanan. Buchanan surpassed the minimum number of signatures required to run unaffiliated, which was 437. 

Harding signed Buchanan’s petition out of “respect for the process,” he said.

If he gets out there and works and wins, then he wins,” Harding said.

Grindstaff said Buchanan is a “good guy” who will get a lot of support.

“November will be interesting, that’s for sure,” Grindstaff said.

Click here to see a breakdown of the results.

The MItchell News

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