Alexander led high-turnout precincts in route to city council victory

Published 12:10 am Sunday, November 8, 2015

Salisbury City Councilwoman Karen Alexander secured her first place victory in the 2015 election by placing in the top three in 12 of 15 precincts.

Similarly, Alexander won seven of 15 precincts, including three that turned out large percentages of the registered population. Her most significant victories were in precincts near downtown Salisbury — 39, 40 and 41. Her strong performance in high-turnout precincts locked up big portions of Salisbury’s vote total and left few areas left for other candidates to win.

By locking up the largest precincts, Alexander won nearly 900 votes, more votes than half of the city council field received throughout the city.

Recently elected council members Ken Hardin and Maggie Blackwell were the only other candidates to win a precinct. Hardin won four precincts — 12, 21, 38 and 42. Blackwell won three — 11, 30, 34.

Four candidates, including Hardin tied for first in precinct 15 with one vote each, which would technically give Hardin five precinct wins.

Hardin’s most significant victory was in precinct 38, which is south of Interstate 85 and east of Innes Street, where Hardin locked up 192 votes. In precinct 42, commonly referred to as Salisbury’s West End Neighborhood, Hardin locked up another first-place finish and 178 votes, which also added a significant number to his total.

Precinct 34 was Blackwell’s most significant victory. It includes most of southwest of Lincolnton Road and Salisbury High.

Though Blackwell finished with fewer precinct victories than Hardin, she and Councilman Brian Miller won because they regularly finished in the top five in multiple areas. In fact, Alexander, Blackwell and Miller finished in the top five spots in nine total precincts. The most significant were high-turnout areas near downtown.

The widespread success of incumbents in high-turnout areas was immediately evident as election results poured in. Miller at times was out of the top three, but Alexander and Blackwell led all candidates throughout the night.

David Post also did well in a significant number of Salisbury’s precincts, but never finished higher than second. Precinct 40 — north of Main Street and east of Innes Street — meant the most to Post’s vote total. There, he locked up 330 votes.

Post was actually one of four candidates to finish in the top five in all of Salisbury’s highest turnout precincts — those including parts downtown and neighboring historic districts. Alexander, Blackwell and Miller were the other three.

The final vote total for the top five candidates included: Alexander with 1,831 votes, Blackwell with 1,604, Miller with 1,476, Post with 1,376 and Hardin with 1,241.

Mark Lewis secured the most votes of any candidate who didn’t secure a council seat. He did well in two of the highest turnout areas, but fell to fifth in Salisbury’s highest turnout precinct — 40.

In the highest turnout precinct, Rip Kersey slid into the top five and locked up 261 votes, which was more than some secured when winning other areas.

Editor’s note: this article has been updated to correctly state the precincts won by Kenny Hardin. 

Josh Bergeron covers county government, politics and the environment for the Salisbury Post.