Run-off April 16 for county superintendent

The E.T. Sims Jr. Recreation Center in Hamilton was busy at approximately 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 5, as Precinct 1A-1D voters cast their vote for the candidates of their choice during the 2024 primary election.

By Luke Brantley
Staff writer
HAMILTON — The 2024 Marion County Schools superintendent and Board of Education District 4 primary elections are headed to a runoff election on Tuesday, April 16.
No candidate in the superintendent race received the minimum of 50 percent plus one vote required to win the primary, which will require a runoff election.
Patrick Sutton received the most votes with 2,155, but that was only 38.94 percent of the total vote. Josh Weatherly was next with 1,984 votes or 35.85 percent, followed by Gary McCarley with 1,395 votes (25.21 percent).
The runoff will be between Sutton and Weatherly.
The race for the school board position was an incredibly tight race, coming down to a difference of only two votes.
Alex Smith received 554 votes (50.09 percent), and Don Jones received 552 (49.90 percent).
As of the Journal Record’s weekly press deadline on Monday, March 11, provisional ballots had not yet been counted, which could have an impact on the outcome of the school board race.
Marion County Probate Judge Paige Vick explained how the primary and runoff process works.
“I don’t think people really understand the primary process,” she said. “You’ll have people whose names are not on the ballot, because the primary is just to determine which candidate is going to represent a particular party in November in the actual election.
“In order to avoid any type of runoff, if there are more than two candidates, then you’ve got to have 50 percent plus one. If two people are running, one will have more than 50 percent, but if there are three, if anyone had that 50.1 percent of the vote then there would not have been a runoff. But because none of the candidates received that number, then we have a runoff between the top two.”
Vick said voter turnout wasn’t quite as high as she would like to see.
“I was a little disappointed in the voter turnout,” she said. “When we have a primary runoff, the numbers will probably be even smaller, but primaries generally have a smaller turnout than the general election.”
 Out of 22,233 registered voters in Marion County, 5,937 ballots were cast, equaling an overall turnout of about 26.7 percent.
Vick said election day went smoothly, apart from the weather.
“The weather and humidity caused a few of the ballots to stick—they would absorb the moisture. We had the people helping us keep the election running smoothly, had hair dryers to dry the ballots and get some of the moisture out of the paper so that the ballots would flow smoothly. That happens at any election where it’s as rainy as it was that day.
“I’m very happy that we had great voters and poll workers here. We’ve not had any issues at any of our polls. It’s gone pretty smoothly.”
In the state and federal primaries, Marion County Republican voters chose Donald Trump as their candidate over Nikki Haley by a margin of 5,246 (91.41 percent) to 336 (5.85 percent).
Trump won at the state level as well with 497,739 votes or 83.2 percent of the vote.
For the Democratic Party, Joe Biden won the nomination from Marion County voters with 122 votes (78.21 percent) over Dean Phillips with 12 votes (7.69 percent).
At the state level, Biden won the nomination with 167,165 votes (89.1 percent) ahead of uncommitted voters with 11,213 votes (6 percent) and Phillips with 9,191 (4.9 percent).
For U.S. House District 4, Republican Robert Aderholt won the Marion County nomination with 4,759 votes (84 percent) over Justin Holcomb with 890 votes (16 percent).
At the district level, Aderholt defeated Holcomb 88,589 (79.7 percent) to 22,649 (20.3 percent)…

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