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Incumbent Sides, Ford on GOP ballot for board

By Jessie Burchette
Salisbury Post
Friends and political allies Jim Sides and Carl Ford will be the Republican team on November’s ballot for the Rowan County Board of Commissioners.
In a crowded field of eight candidates, Sides took 21 percent of the vote, or 3,670 votes, according to unofficial returns.
Ford came in second with 20.29 percent, or 3,546 votes, barely escaping a run-off with third place finisher Mike Miller, who tallied 2,696 votes.
Waiting for the final precinct to report, election officials did the math. Ford needed a minimum of 3,496 votes to avoid the run off. He cleared the hurdle with 50 votes to spare.
Sides was delighted the voters picked Ford. “Of all the candidates, Carl would be my pick for the second (open) seat.”
Sides, 59, will be seeking his third term on the board. His first term was 1980-1984.
Between his T-shirt wholesale business, Today’s Trading, and his work as a commissioner, Sides had little time to campaign.
“This election was not about me, it was about the people of Rowan County. I did no campaigning. I decided to do it on my record,” Sides said. “It certainly speaks to the fact that people know what I stand for and agree with me to some extent.”
Sides said he didn’t say anything negative about any of the other candidates.
“If I had lost, I could go home happy,” he said.
Ford, 50, credited Salisbury’s ill-fated attempt to annex the N.C. 150 area with helping him and Sides win.
Some of the residents of the N.C. 150 west area volunteered to campaign for Sides and Ford.
Larry Wright, a Neel Estates resident, worked his first election.
“It was fun,” Wright said. He wore a “Ford” hat and shirt as he watched election returns at the Cohen Administration Building.
Ford, president of Ford Broadcasting of China Grove, will be making his second consecutive bid for the Board of Commissioners. He narrowly lost to Democrat Tina Hall, a friend and politically ally, in 2006.
Miller, owner of Miller-Davis in Salisbury, was optimistic as the first dozen or so precincts reported in. He cited the high level of interest by voters.
When Ford’s margin continued to grow, Miller congratulated Ford.
Miller, Ken Deal and Donna Peeler all finished within a percentage point of each other. Peeler, a longtime Republican activist, finished fourth with 2,530 votes, just ahead of Deal, the county’s director of administration, who finished fifth with 2,259 votes.
Peeler, 60, of Rockwell, described her experience as fantastic.
“I met a lot of new people. … I had a great crew working for me,” said Peeler, who was surrounded by supporters.
Chad Mitchell, vice chairman of the Board of Commissioners, watched the returns with his new bride, Allison, an English teacher at East Rowan High School. Mitchell also teaches at East and is the athletic director there.
An avid political watcher, Mitchell had predicted Monday that Sides would finish first and the next four or five candidates would be so close “you can cover them with a blanket.”
Contact Jessie Burchette at 704-797-4254 or jburchette@salisburypost.com.

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