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Greene, Edds dominate precinct by precinct results

Republican Judy Klusman could hold up her slim lead in the Rowan County Commissioners race, if uncounted absentee votes fall in line with voting trends during the general election.

The commissioners race results showed two clear winners — Republicans Jim Greene and Greg Edds. The pair cruised to spots on the county commission, dominating the precinct-by-precinct results by more than 5,000 votes. The results are significantly closer for Klusman and Coltrain, with each candidate having certain pockets of support.

Democratic candidates Leda Belk and Rick Locklear had their strong pockets of supporters, but finished behind Gene Miller, who was fifth overall.

The race will ultimate be decided on Monday, when the Rowan County Board of Elections approves remaining absentee ballots. About 260 ballots hadn’t been returned or accepted before election day, but could still count if returned by Friday, Nov. 7 and were postmarked on Nov. 4. A number of provisional ballots also could be approved.

Despite a chance for change in result, the end result could remain the same, with Klusman holding her third spot.

Absentee ballots

Absentee vote results largely match the final vote count.

Greene and Edds received dozens more votes than other candidates. Greene received 462 absentee votes by mail and Edds received 431.

Klusman came in third with 352 votes by mail-in absentee ballots and Coltrain received 299.

The only candidate that bucked the trend was Belk, who received 253 absentee votes, making her the fifth highest candidate in terms of mail-in ballots. She finished seventh of eight.

If the absentee votes come from people with ties to the City of Salisbury — where Coltrain typically draws most of his support — he could pass Klusman, but would need a hefty number.

“Naturally, as the numbers indicate, if more of those votes are from the Salisbury area and the western part of the county, that should be increased probability of being more favorable for me,” Coltrain said.

Which parts of the county received more attention?

Both Klusman and Coltrain say the southern portion of the county received an increased amount of attention during campaigning.

Not only does the census show that most Rowan residents live in the southern portion of the county, but some of the precincts with the largest number of registered voters are also in the south.

“I did a lot of visiting, as much as I could, to events down south,” Klusman said.

Besides the high population of voters, Klusman said she also focused on the area because of its strong Republican base.

Coltrain said population was a factor for his focus on the southern portion of the county, but also simply for name recognition.

“The people who are better acquainted with me are going to be within the city and also in the western port of the county,” Coltrain said. “Thats where my life has been in the county since 1989. I guess the beaten paths, if you will, have been in those areas of the county.”

Finishing at the top of precincts

Precinct by precinct results show the race as close in many ways between Klusman and Coltrain, with Greene and Edds taking victories in most precincts.

Klusman finished higher than Coltrain in 19 precincts, mostly in the southern portion of the county. Coltrain finished higher than Klusman in 18 precincts, mostly in the north portion of the county and around and in the City of Salisbury’s limits.

Coltrain won four precincts — 35, 39 and 40, 41 which are all in the city limits of Salisbury. Klusman didn’t finish first or second in any precinct, but finished third or higher the exact same number of times as Coltrain

Greene and Edds were first and second, respectively, in a significant part of the county — 22 of 45 precincts.

One reason for Greene’s first place finish in nearly two dozen counties, Greene said, was his non-polarizing message.

“Obviously, there are many factors that go into this and I think that my message to the citizens of Rowan County was well received,” Greene said.

Some of Greene’s major focus points were boosting the local economy, civility among government entities and education.

Edds, who won six precincts, said the most effective way to reach out to voters in the election was in-person conversations.

“I spent time in every precinct and started knocking on doors everyday after work until dark,” Edds said. “Sometimes, I would only get to two doors because conversations were so long, but the discussions were topical and impactful.”

Chronologically, the race came down to precinct 9 and Enochville for Coltrain and Klusman, as it was the last precinct to report its results. Coltrain was in third by a thin margin with one precinct left. Enochville’s results heavily favored Republicans. Greene and Edds took the top spots in the district — 525 and 541 respectively. Klusman finished third with 429 votes and Coltrain finished seventh in precinct nine with 157 votes.

Edds commented on the final results, saying that Enochville’s results may have just been a product of the area’s Republican leanings. Both Unaffiliated candidate Gene Miller, a registered Republican, and Chris Cohen, who the Rowan County Tea Party attempted to straight shot, received more votes in precinct 9 than Coltrain.

The rest of the fields’ results

Commissioner candidates who finished five through seven were fairly close in total results, with just 600 separating Miller and Belk, who was seventh overall.

Miller finished one vote shy of third in the 30th precinct — between China Grove and Salisbury. Miller finished third in precincts 39, 40 and 41, which are all located on the north east side of Salisbury.

Locklear, who came in sixth overall, won precinct two, which strips across north Kannapolis and southern Landis. He finished second in several precincts near Salisbury — 18, 28, 34, 36, 38 and 42. He finished third in precincts 19A and 35.

Belk won seven precincts — 27, 36, 34, 38, 42, 45. She only topped 600 votes in two of the precincts she won. She finished second in four precincts and third in one.

Cohen finished several thousand votes behind every other candidate. He didn’t place in the top three in any precinct.

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