Bansley unseats Wilkerson

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Sharp to keep his seat on District 4

By John Barnhart

    Last week’s Republican primary will result in a change in the Bedford County Board of Supervisors. Although this was a political party primary, the winners will run unopposed in November.
    The change came about in District 2 were Charla Bansley, the challenger, defeated incumbent Steve Wilkerson. Bansley won with 55 percent of the vote.
    “I’m excited,” she said in a phone interview. “I’m thinking of the things that are in store for Bedford County and that I’m excited to be a part of it.”
    Bansley said her victory shows people want more jobs in Bedford County and don’t want to see their taxes raised. They want the tax base to grow, not the tax rate.
    “Steve Wilkerson is a nice guy,” she said, concerning her opponent. “He has a lot   of  friends   in  Bedford  County.”
    This is why she feels so positive about winning.
    “I’m thankful my neighbors put their trust in me,” she said. “I want to live  up to their trust.”
    “I’m just excited for what the future holds,” she concluded. “The best is yet to come.”
    Steve Wilkerson responded to a request for comments by e-mailing a statement.
    “I lost, in spite of the humbling support of a lot of good people, to whom I will be forever indebted,” Wilkerson wrote.  “Mrs. Bansley ran a formidable race. If she listens to the people and devotes that same tenacity and energy to addressing the very real issues facing this county, she could find her sign in front of my house in four years.”

District 4
    There won’t be any changes in District 4. John Sharp, the incumbent, fended off a challenge by Gary Hostutler with 59 percent of the vote. Hostutler currently serves as chairman of the Bedford County School Board.
    “I know my district is conservative,” Sharp said.
    Sharp said voters want their representative on the board of supervisors to be reasonable and responsible with taxpayers’ money. He said that is why he ran.
    “I’m trying to represent what the majority want,” he said.
    Sharp said that he seeks to provide public services while being reasonable with taxpayers’ money. He believes he won because people want him to continue doing that.
    “I’m very appreciative of the voters who came out to support me on Tuesday,” he said. He got 1,070 votes in the primary and believes he is the first board of supervisors candidate to ever break the 1,000 vote mark in a primary.
    Sharp characterized the campaign as hard fought.
    “Thank you to the voters of District 4,” he said.
    Sharp said he also had support from residents of other parts of the county. He had donations from county residents outside his district as well as Facebook posts in support of his candidacy. He said there are a lot of county residents who know what he’s about and appreciate it.
    Sharp said it’s good to go back for another four years on the board of supervisors knowing that he has that level of support.
    “I was disappointed,” Gary Hostutler commented on the primary results.
    “Obviously Mr. Sharp had a larger number of his supporters turn out than I did,” he said.
    Hostutler said Sharp had a better financed campaign.
    “He had a better ground game by far,” Hostutler said. “He worked at it a lot harder than I did and he was successful.”
    “I wish him well,” he said.
    It’s too late for Hostutler to get his name on the ballot for school board at this point, but he said he had no intention of running for another term on the school board.
    “It’s time for new blood,” Hostutler said. He noted that both candidates for the District 4 seat have children in the school system.
    Hostutler said serving on the school board is a thankless job.
    “You can’t please everybody, so you do the best you can,” he said.
    On the state level, Republican Ed Gillespie will take on Democrat Ralph Northam for governor. Gillespie eked out a narrow victory over Corey Stewart with 44 percent of the vote as opposed to Stewart’s 43 percent. Ed Wagner got 14 percent.
    Bedford County voters preferred Stewart. Locally, Stewart got 49 percent of the vote while Gillespie got 42 percent; Wagner got 9 percent
    On the Democrat side, Northam achieved a solid victory with 56 percent of the vote. Tom Perriello received 44 percent. Bedford County Democrats preferred Perriello by a margin of 68 percent to Northam’s 32 percent.
    In other races, Republican Jill H. Vogel will face Democrat Justin E. Fairfax in the lieutenant governor’s race in November.