Close race in Rockwell could mean a recount

Published 10:35 pm Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Tuesday’s results in the election for the Rockwell Board of Alderman provided proof that every vote counts.

And in the race for the fifth seat on the board, every vote might be counted again.

Incumbents Chuck Bowman, Charles Wingerson, Bobby Moore led the voting.

Behind them, incumbent Chris Stiller vied for a spot with challengers Lori K. Bridges and Stephenie Walker. In unofficial results, Stiller won the fourth seat with 72 votes.

Reports from the polls initially called a tie between Walker and Bridges, according to Bowman. But when early and absentee votes were counted ,Walker pulled ahead, winning the last seat with 71 votes to Bridges’ 69.

“I gave it my best shot,” Bridges said.

Bridges, who received 11.39 percent of votes in Rockwell, said she will request a recount.

Walker, 45, is an operations and project manager for IBM and received 11.72 percent of votes cast.

“I’m a little surprised,” she said.

Walker is a newcomer to Rockwell, having moved there from Atlanta in 2012. She says she’s been attending board meetings regularly for the past few months, and wants to connect the town to the school system. She hopes to bring a “young vibe” to the board.

“I’m just excited to get in there,” she said.

Bowman, 62, led the field with 103 votes, or 17 percent of the votes, according to the N.C. Board of Elections website.

“I’d just like to thank everyone that came out and voted,” he said, “whether they voted for me or not.”

This will be his fourth term on Rockwell’s Board of Aldermen.

Bowman works with Central Piedmont Fire Protection and says that he’s focused on keeping the town of Rockwell “great like it is.”

Wingerson, 76, says that with his new term, he’s looking forward to continuing his more than 20 years of service to Rockwell. Wingerson is a retiree and says the board is working towards downtown revitalization, but didn’t expect there to be any big changes. Wingerson came in second with 95 votes, or 15.68 percent of the total.

Moore, 74, a retired employee with Duke Energy, won a seat with 91 votes, and while he’s grateful for the town’s faith in him, wished more people exercised their right to vote.

“I would have liked to see a larger turnout,” he said.

According to the Rowan County Board of Elections, only 144 ballots were cast in Rockwell out of 1,332 registered voters. Moore won a seat on the board in 2013 as a write-in candidate with 42 votes. This election, he received 15.02 percent of Rockwell’s votes.

Stiller, 64, could not be reached for comment.

Incumbent Bill Earnhardt lost his re-election bid with 58 votes; challenger Sondra Merrifield received 42 votes.

Beau Taylor, uncontested in his bid for another term as mayor, received 129 votes,. Taylor has been mayor since 2003.