The write-in candidates had a strong showing in Holly Ridge; however, it’s the candidates listed on the ballots who have been elected to the five open seats on the Holly Ridge Town Council.


The write-in candidates had a strong showing in Holly Ridge; however, it’s the candidates listed on the ballots who have been elected to the five open seats on the Holly Ridge Town Council.





The Onslow County Board of Election canvass, held Nov. 12, confirmed Election Day results in all of the county’s municipalities. The only race still undecided was the Holly Ridge one. After ballots were tallied on Nov. 5, write-in candidates for the town council collectively shared the greatest number of votes. However, the names of the write-in candidates who received votes and how many they got wasn’t know until the canvass.



According to those official election results, incumbent Gregory Hines was the No. 1 vote getter, receiving 141 votes or 16.08 percent, followed by George Lang with 124 votes or 14.14 percent; incumbent Carolyn Stanley with 116 votes or 13.23 percent; Rena Bragg with 107 votes or 12.2 percent; and Bruce A. Helms with 87 votes or 9.92 percent.



Write-in candidates collectively received 302 votes.



Of those Ashley Watkins had 84 of those votes or 9.5 percent; Dawneva Evans had 75 votes or 8.5 percent; Ronald Banks Jr. had 72 votes or 8.2 percent; and Kelly Collins had 60 votes or 6.8 percent, according to the Onslow County Board of Elections.



“I’m a little disappointed,” Watkins said of falling two votes short. “It’s always that what if the other two had come out.”



However, since Watkins’ tally falls within the 1 percent margin, coming in.42 percent under Helms, she can request a recount in writing by 5 p.m. Wednesday.



Watkins said that she has been discussing the possibility with the Board of Elections.



Helms told The Daily News that he was not concerned about a recount.



“The votes stand on themselves and the Board of Elections will count them as they need to and the result that happens is the result that it is and I’m OK either way,” he said.



Stanley, who was re-elected to another term on the council, said she was glad that the waiting was over.



“I appreciate the people voting for me … I will do my best for what’s best for the town,” she said.



Evans told The Daily News that with three more voters, the write-in candidate campaign could have been successful.



“I am very happy with the results in that considering we had a three-week campaign and nobody knew who we were and we had to do write-ins, between us we got 34 percent of the vote,” she said.



She said that she and several other write-in candidates are getting organized in order to have a more successful campaign in two years.



Write-in candidate Kelly Collins said that she felt “pretty good” about the results, which she said show the changing demographic in Holly Ridge.



“I think that it was a very good turnout for Holly Ridge, better than it has been in the past and I think that more people are interested in local politics and what’s going on around them and I think that’s fantastic,” she said.



Collins said she doesn’t know if she will attempt to run for the council in the next municipal election since she is a military spouse and, depending on the timeline, may be unable to finish that term.



Bragg, Lang and Banks could not be immediately reached for comment.



While provisional ballots were added to the 2013 municipal election tallies at the canvass, there weren’t any race result changes.



“Everyone won big,” said Onslow County Board of Elections Director Rose Whitehurst, explaining that the Holly Ridge Town Council was the closest race.



The Onslow County Board of Elections certified the election results Tuesday while analyzing 58 provisional ballots, of which 51 were approved.



Seven were not approved because the voters were not eligible to vote, Whitehurst said.