Akinosho, Livingston, Williams get most votes in Lee BOE race

Hayes, behind by three votes, undecided on possible recount
May. 06, 2014 @ 10:26 PM

Pending a recount, Mark Akinosho, Ophelia Livingston and Shawn Williams have come closer to membership on the Lee County Board of Education, having been the top three vote-getters in Tuesday's Democratic primary.

Williams defeated candidate Richard Hayes by just three votes, 1,869-1,866 in the unofficial tally, so Board of Elections Director Nancy Kimble said there could be a recount if Hayes asked for one.

Hayes said Tuesday night he hadn't determined whether he would request a recount, but that he would speak with family and friends and make a decision as soon as today.

"I suppose I've got to sleep on it and think about it," said Hayes, who previously has served on both the school board and the Lee County Board of Commissioners but now doesn't hold any elected office. "... But I will say this to you: They're all good people, so no regrets [if the numbers stand]. While I am very disappointed, life will go on, and they will all be very able school board members if they do go on."

Akinosho, the only incumbent up for one of the three seats on the school board, came in barely behind Livington, 1,892-1,890.

"It's great news," said Livingston, who has never served on the board before. "It's been a long journey, but it all paid off in the end. Getting out there and shaking hands, getting to know people, has been great." She received 25.17 percent of the vote.

"I'm grateful to the people of Lee County who came out to vote for me, and I'm looking forward to their support again in November," said Akinosho, the board's vice chairman, who received 25.14 percent of the vote.

"It's just been good to be able to go back and be given the chance to go on to November," said Williams, a former school board chairman who lost a reelection bid in 2012 and on Tuesday received 24.86 percent of the vote compared to Hayes's 24.82 percent.

Since the Republicans had three candidates from the outset, they did not need to hold a primary to winnow their number down with a primary. This is the first year that school board elections have ever been partisan in Lee County, having been changed by a local bill sponsored by Rep. Mike Stone last summer.

The primary election, which also featured a number of state and national races, saw a voter turnout of 14.8 percent in Lee County with 5,071 ballots cast out of 34,317 registered voters.


Lee County Commissioners

Larry "Doc" Oldham won handily in his Democratic primary for the Lee County Board of Commissioners, with 88.5 percent of the vote, largely because his opposition existed only on paper.

Leverne Kinney decided to drop out of the race in March, but the ballots had been printed by that time, so his name still appeared. Kinney threw his support behind Oldham, who switched to the Democratic Party after being defeated as an incumbent in a Republican primary for the commissioners in 2012.

Oldham will face Republican challenger Kevin Dodson, who owns Carolina Fire Arms Training Inc. and K&L Gun Sales, in November's general election. Jim Womack, the Republican commissioner who now holds the seat for which Oldham and Dodson are campaigning, did not file for re-election.