Richfield commissioner who died in September wins another term
Published 11:44 am Friday, November 6, 2020
By Chris Miller
Stanly News & Press
STANLY COUNTY — Richfield commissioner Terry Almond died in September after days spent in the hospital stemming from an allergic reaction to a bee sting. But on Tuesday night, the citizens of the town reelected Almond to the Richfield Board of Commissioners.
In the five-person race, where three people would be chosen, Almond, who had served as a commissioner for around three decades, came in second with 154 votes, which accounted for 21% of the total.
The Stanly County Board of Elections couldn’t make any changes to the ballot, since around 2,000 votes had already been mailed out to citizens prior to Almond’s death, Kimberly Blackwelder, director of elections, said at the time. She added that his death was an extraordinary circumstance unlike anything she had ever dealt with in her position with the county.
According to state law, if a deceased nonpartisan candidate wins election, the board of elections would then declare the office vacant. It would then be up to the Richfield town commissioners to appoint a person to fill the vacancy.
Blackwelder said the board of elections will not make any declaration regarding a vacancy until all the election results are officially certified on Nov. 13.
The Stanly News & Press discussed the possibility of Almond winning with Richfield Town Administrator Carolyn Capps in September. She said at the time that town officials had already discussed the possibility that Almond could be one of the three candidates elected. If that happened, she said the commissioners would get together during the next board meeting after the election to appoint another person to serve the four years of Almond’s term.
Capps suggested that most people who voted for Almond did so as a tribute to him and what he meant to the town.
“Everybody thought so highly of him that they decided to do that in his memory I assume,” she said.
Barry Byrd received the most votes with 162 votes (22% of total), while Christy NeCaise received the third-most votes with 145 votes (almost 20% of total).
Byrd could not immediately be reached for comment.
“I have been deeply humbled by knowing the Richfield citizens have placed their trust in me,” NeCaise said. “This is a responsibility I will not take lightly.
“Thank you to everyone for voting me to represent you as one of your town commissioners,” NeCaise added.
Challenger Scott Bradley received 138 votes, while incumbent Jay Patel finished with 124 votes.