Featured photo: Republicans gathered at Little Richards BBQ on Tuesday evening to watch election results come in. (photo by James Douglas)

Ken Raymond, head of the Forsyth County Republican Party, is leaned over a laptop watching the primary returns trickle in. He’s stationed in a section of Little Richards BBQ restaurant on Stratford Road and about 20 people are there, anxiously waiting to see who will move on to the race in November. So far, his companions are optimistic. Ted Budd’s face looms over the small crowd from a large flat screen TV as he gives his victory speech from his campaign HQ. Sporadic applause at Budd’s speech echoes through the large room while many hit the refresh button on their devices as each of the 101 precincts report in and post numbers. More supporters, and a few candidates slowly arrive as the night continues.

Earlier at the Old Town Park precinct off Shattalon Drive, former U.S. House candidate Jenny Marshall passed out flyers to new arrivals promoting her candidates of choice for school board. A public teacher herself, she had only just arrived. Betty Dowd, the precinct chair at that location, said that participation was high this year. “So far, we’ve had 117 people vote,” she said. “That’s not counting the 50 or so people that we had to turn away and direct to their assigned precinct.”

By 10 p.m., the restaurant is closing, and the crowd begins to dissipate. The only three candidates who attended the watch party were on track to be on the ballot in November, and coincidently, in the same race. School board candidates Sarah Absher, Michael Hardman and Allen Daniel are all running for the three at-large seats that are open. They, too, were mingling with supporters and their families.  By 10:33 p.m., the results were in, with 100 percent precincts reporting.

School Board At-Large (3 seats available)

In the Republican race, Absher placed first with 20 percent of the vote. Following her was Hardman with a close 19.7 percent. Allen Daniel came in third, beating out Robert Capizzi with 15.2 percent.

In the Democratic primary, incumbent Deanna Kaplan, wife of commissioner Ted Kaplan, came in first with 29.2 percent while Richard Watts came in close behind with 28 percent. Third place was Sabrina Coone-Godfrey with 23.8 percent.

The three Democrats and three Republicans will face each other in November.

School Board District 1 (Two Seats available)

Forsyth County’s District 1 only has Democrats running, and the two winners in this race will become the two representatives of District 1. Final tally for District 1 has Trevonia Brown Gaither with 26.2 percent, while incumbent Alex Bohannon placed second with 25.9 percent.

School Board District 2 (4 seats available)

In the District 2 Republican primary race, the top four vote-getters will face Democrat Jennifer Castillo who had no opponent this primary, in November. Of the 10 Republican candidates, Robert Barr came in first with 14.3 percent, followed closely by Stan Elrod who had 14.1 percent. Third place went to incumbent Leah Crowley who got 12.1 percent while Steve Wood placed fourth with 11.6 percent.

Dan Besse

County Commissioner At-Large (1 seat available)

Former City Council member Dan Besse beat out incumbent commissioner and former U.S. House Representative Ted Kaplan in what some would call an upset, gathering 60.7 percent to Kaplan’s 39.3 percent. Besse will face Republican Terri Mrazek in November.

County Commissioner District A (2 seats available)

For District A, the two open seats went to current incumbent Tonya McDaniel and former School Board chair Malishai Woodbury. McDaniel won with 27.4 percent of the vote while Woodbury came in second with 23.8 percent. McDaniel and Woodbury will face Republicans Reginald Reid and Michael R. Owens in November.

Clerk of Superior Court (1 seat available)

In this race of just three Democrats, incumbent Denise Hines won a majority of the vote with 56.7 percent compared to Tina Flowers’ 36.4 percent and John Snow’s 6.9 percent.

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