Manning, Mann, Pendergrass, Kiker apparent winners in commission races
Two Lee County commissioners apparently retained their seats Tuesday in the general election, while two new faces earned their spot on the board.
District 1 Commissioner John Manning and District 5 Commissioner Frank Mann were re-elected with about 88 percent of the precincts accounted for. Cecil Pendergrass won in the District 2; Larry Kiker won in the District 3.
Manning took 115,029 votes, or about 95.89 percent of the total votes cast. Challenger Gerard David Jr., a write-in candidate, scored 4,926 votes.
Manning did not return a message seeking comment Tuesday.
David expressed excitement over the votes that he did receive.
“I was just a write-in candidate. It’s pretty good,” he said. “I think I got almost as much as when I ran in 2008 on the ballot, so this isn’t so terrible.”
David admitted that he was not “really counting on winning.”
“I just didn’t want John Manning not to have an opponent,” he said, adding that he wanted voters to have a choice. “I guess I could have done more.”
He thanked those who voted for and supported him.
Mann took 82,289 votes, or 59.94 percent of the total votes. His challenger, Matt Miller, who ran on no party, received 55,008 votes – 40.06 percent.
“We’re just very pleased,” Mann said, adding that they expected to win.
“I’m very grateful for the support I got from such a large percent of the citizens,” he said.
Asked about his priorities in the next term, Mann cited the budget.
“My top priority is still to balance the budget without using the county’s cash reserves,” he said.
Miller called it “a sad day for the taxpayers.”
“A lot of people just voted their party,” he said.
Miller noted that he ran a clean campaign.
“We did what we could,” he said.
Miller also thanked the people who volunteered and voted for him.
Pendergrass took 90,685 votes, or 67.25 percent of the total votes cast. John Sawyer III came in second with 43,751 votes – 32.45 percent – while third place went to Neal Moore, who received 403 votes of the total figure.
Sawyer ran with no party affiliation, while Moore was a write-in.
“We’re excited and honored that Lee County has chosen me,” Pendergrass said, adding that he looks forward to being a positive commissioner.
“Resolving issues and putting them to bed and looking ahead to the future,” he said.
Asked about priorities, Pendergrass cited looking for a county manager.
“We have to do some house cleaning from day one,” he said.
“We have to resolve the MEDSTAR issue,” Pendergrass added. “I think it’s a minor administration management problem.”
He cited the budget as another issue.
“I’m also looking into how we can reduce our budget. Not use as much reserves as we did this past year to balance the budget,” Pendergrass said.
Asked about his campaign, he would have done nothing different.
“We ran a great campaign,” Pendergrass said. “We didn’t ignore one area of Lee County, and obviously, the results were we won.”
Sawyer did not return a message seeking comment Tuesday.
Moore declined to comment on the results of the election.
Kiker took 84,635 votes, or 62.95 percent of the total votes cast. Running on no party affiliation, challenger Charlie Whitehead scored 49,822 votes.
“I couldn’t be any happier,” Kiker said. “We worked as hard as I think anybody could, and I think that is why we won.”
He expressed interest in sitting down with his peers to talk about the vision and policy in which the commission will frame their future decisions.
“Secondly, I want to work with all the different mayors and heads of the communities and talk about our priorities as a county as a whole, so they can have a major hand on how priorities are set and tax money spent,” he said.
“Whether I agree with them or disagree with them, our number one job is to represent them,” Kiker said.
He noted tax incentives for businesses, rather than funding handouts.
“We need to focus on our future and use our resources on future projects,” Kiker said.
Whitehead did not return a message seeking comment Tuesday.