Sheriff, two supervisors reelected; Lesinski edges Hampton opponents

‘Pud’ Maeyer wins three-way Hampton school board write-in race; Dodson, Ralph win by wide margins

According to still-unofficial results from the Virginia Department of Elections, Rappahannock County Sheriff Connie C. Smith decisively won a third term — by a 7-to-3 margin, not quite as wide as in 2011, when she bested the same challenger, Anthony E. “Andy” Berry Sr., by getting almost four times as many votes.

Smith received 2,245 votes (71.9 percent) to Berry’s 867 (27.7 percent) in a race that, at least for those who follow “social” media, inspired some strong emotions — and the results of which many believed would be closer.

“My statement to the public,” Smith said by phone Wednesday, “would be: Thank you, thank you and . . . thank you.

“It’s not just a job, it’s a lifestyle for me,” Smith said. “It’s what I know, it’s all I’ve ever done. So I’m just at a loss for words.”

“Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose,” Berry posted to his campaign’s Facebook page. “To my supporters I say thank you and I appreciated the support and the votes I received. I ran a campaign on what I believed was in the best interests of the citizens and county. Politics anymore is not about the best candidate. It is a popularity contest.”

In Jackson district supervisor Ron Frazier defeated Amy Hitt, Jackson district’s current school board representative, with 61.3 percent of the vote (344 votes) to Hitt’s 37.8 percent (212).

“I appreciate what the voters in Jackson district did,” Frazier said Wednesday.

In Hampton district, school board chair John Lesinski was the top vote-getter in an usually crowded field, taking the supervisor seat the retiring Bryant Lee will give up Dec. 31 with 311 votes. Rappahannock Water and Sewer Authority member Keir Whitson finished just 27 votes behind, with 284, and Rappahannock native, farmer and realtor J. Newbill “Jay” Miller Jr. received 124. Write-ins accounted for 41 votes — 36 of them for last-minute write-in candidate Roger Cordani.

Lesinski said he was most thankful what he perceived as Hampton district’s high voter turnout on Tuesday. (Though turnout statistics were not yet available county-wide, Hampton district reported a 2015 Election Day turnout of 57 percent of its 1,193 registered voters; in the last comparable general election, in 2011, that number was 53 percent.)

“I am thankful for the voters in the Hampton district, mostly for turning out in record numbers,” Lesinski said, noting that he also was grateful to his opponents for “a race that pretty much stuck to the issues, and inspired a meaningful debate on the future of Rappahannock County. It was a very clean campaign all around, which I think people appreciate.”

By midday Wednesday, according to Registrar of Voters Kim McKiernan, write-in votes had been certified and connected to candidates’ names only in the Hampton district’s unusual school board race — a three-way, all-write-in contest.

The contest was won by former Rappahannock teacher Lucy Ann “Pud” Maeyer, with 175 votes. Former U.S. Marine Band director and longtime resident John Bourgeois received 147 votes; former teacher and nurse Demaris Miller of Washington received 121.

In Wakefield district, Roger Welch edged past the write-ins, most of which were cast in the Chester Gap part of the district (where Chester Gap Fire Department Chief Todd Brown campaigned as a write-in). District-wide, Welch received 351 votes — unnamed write-ins had 165 — but most of his support came in the Flint Hill section of the district. In Chester Gap, write-ins took 118 votes and Welch got 85.

Incumbent Margaret R. “Peggy” Ralph defeated challenger Lavonne G. Adkins with 68 percent of the vote (2,032 votes), to Adkins’ 31.9 percent (954 votes).

The three-way race was close for two open Rappahannock seats on the Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District board, but the top two vote-getters, Sperryville farmers Mike Peterson with 1,304 votes and longtime incumbent Monira Rifaat with 1,229, edged out Viewtown’s Isaac W. Parrish, who received 1,151 votes.

Sharon Dodson, longtime deputy to retiring Commissioner of the Revenue Beverly Atkins, decisively won her boss’s job with 2,063 votes (or 67.8 percent). Longtime county building and E-911 office administrator Marlina L. Lee received 842 votes (27.6 percent), and Christa M. Weeks of Washington received 135 (4.4 percent).

In the race for the 26th district Virginia Senate seat held by Republican Mark Obenshain, the incumbent easily defeated Democratic challenger April Moore, with a district-wide vote of 25,100 (68.6 percent) to Moore’s 11,391 (31.1 percent). Among voters in Rappahannock County, typically the conservative district’s least conservative jurisdiction, the race was somewhat closer: Obenshain got 1,802 votes (58.5 percent); Moore took in 1,278 (41.4 percent.)

Unopposed candidates for commonwealth’s attorney (incumbent Arthur W. Goff), county treasurer (incumbent Debra Knick), Wakefield school board (incumbent Chris Ubben) and the Jackson school board seat to be given up by Amy Hitt (former school board chair Wes Mills), all received at least 93 percent of the votes cast. (The remainder were write-ins.)

Among county-wide constitutional officers, Knick led the unopposed candidates in the total number of votes received, with 2,616.

Roger Piantadosi
About Roger Piantadosi 545 Articles
Former Rappahannock News editor Roger Piantadosi is a writer and works on web and video projects for Rappahannock Media and his own Synergist Media company. Before joining the News in 2009, he was a staff writer, editor and web developer at The Washington Post for almost 30 years.