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Election 2011

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By John Barnhart

Some incumbents won't be returning to local boards, and one local state delegate, Bedford 's Lacey Putney, found himself in a tight race, but won, defeating two opponents.

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And there won't be a new sheriff in town—Bedford Sheriff Mike Brown easily won reelection for what he has said will be his last term.

One contested school board race was running tight with Kevin Willis ultimately defeating incumbent Debbie Hoback in the District 7 School Board race. Bill Thomasson, on the other hand, handily defeated longtime incumbent Dale Wheeler for the District 1 Supervisor seat.

The 19th Senate District includes four Bedford County precincts. Ralph Smith, a Republican, was elected to represent that district, defeating Brandon Bell, who ran as an independent won by 56.67 percent to 42.68 percent. In Bedford County, he buried Bell by 68.78 percent to 31.21 percent.

Senator Steve Newman, who represents the 22nd Senate District will return to the Virginia Senate, rolling over Robert Short by a landslide leading him by 77.81 percent to 21.94 percent. Short's margin of defeat in the Bedford was even greater. Newman got 81.31 percent to Short's 18.38.

Delegates Scott Garrett and Kathy Byron cruised to reelection unopposed, but it was a tough night for veteran Delegate Lacey Putney. Putney, an independent, found himself in a three way race with Jerry Johnson, who ran as a Republican, and Lewis Medlin, a Democrat. Putney, who won 41.61 percent of the vote, will return to the House of Delegates for another term. Johnson came in second with 31.82 percent and Medlin came in third with 31.82. Locally, the distance between Putney and Johnson was wider. Putney got 46.61 percent and Johnson got 33.94. Medlin, whose strength came in Allegheny County and Covington, came in a distant third in Bedford County, with only 19.36 percent.

Bedford County Sheriff Mike Brown will get the fifth and final term in office that he sought. Brown defeated Chuck Reid by 71.80 percent to 28.06 percent.

The biggest upset of the night came in District 1. Dale Wheeler, an independent who has represented that district for two decades, was unseated by challenger Bill Thomasson, a Republican. Thomasson got 61.77 percent to Wheeler's 38.17.

In District 6, voters returned incumbent Annie Pollard to the Board of Supervisors. Pollard defeated challenger Martin Leamy by 70.40 to 29.44. Both are independents.

Voters in District 7 chose Tammy Parker, a Republican, to replace Gary Lowry, the incumbent who chose not to run this year. Parker won with 63.35 percent of the vote to Kyle Williams' 36.60 percent.

Two school board seats were contested this year. Jullie Bennington, who represents District 5 won reelection by 64.47 percent to challenger Ricky Wilkerson's 35.47. District 7 was much closer. Challenger Kevin Willis unseated incumbent Debbie Hoback by a margin of 51.84% to 48.15. Richard Downey, in District 1 and Kelly Harmony, in District 6, ran unopposed and replace incumbents Joy Wright and Shirley McCabe, who chose not to seek reelection.

In the city of Bedford voting, Newman easily surpassed Short, claiming 72.25 percent of the vote (922 to 352). Putney also claimed a large margin in the city, winning 59.55 percent of the votes (776) to Medlin's 23.17 percent (302) and Johnson's 17.11 percent (223).

In the sheriff's race, Brown won the city's vote totals, but not by much. Brown claimed 51.51 percent of the votes (681) to Reid's 47.27 percent (625).

In non-contested races, Roger E. Bollinger was elected to the Soil and Water Conservation Director, Peaks of Otter District with 1058 votes and Guy E. Murray Jr. won his special city council election with 1107 votes.

Overall, the city turnout was about 33 percent of total voters.