'13 Election Season Has Arrived

Published 4:35 pm Tuesday, April 2, 2013

PRINCE EDWARD – Spring has sprung and the election cycle is about to recycle.

Virginia voters across all localities will make their selections for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general and select representatives for the House of Delegates this November. Prince Edward voters in Leigh, Prospect, Buffalo and Farmville (701) districts will have the added bonus of voting for their county supervisor.

While it's uncertain what the election winds may change this year, barring a changed mind, one thing is for certain: Buffalo District will have a new representative for the first time in 16 years. Chairman William “Buckie” Fore announced last week that he will not seek re-election.

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So who else is in the hunt for the four available seats?

The Herald has contacted representatives from both political parties and those who currently hold seats that are up on the county board. But before getting to the list, remember that the answer to this point is incomplete as there is still more time.

Those wishing to participate in a party primary had until last Friday to file the necessary paperwork, though if none came forward, local parties can still meet and select a candidate for the November supervisorial election.

Local Democratic Party Committee Chairwoman Pattie Cooper-Jones confirmed that there will be two candidates for the board. Jerry R. Townsend, who works in corrections, is seeking to run in the Leigh District, and former school administrator and minister Calvin L. Gray will seek the Prospect seat.

Prince Edward Republican Unit Chairman Daniel Bradshaw noted that at this time-except for incumbent Leigh District Supervisor Don Gantt-it does not appear that there would be any candidates for the board on the Republican ticket.

Prospective candidates still interested in running for either party would need to contact their respective party chairs. Party nominations (other than by primary) must be in by 7 p.m., June 11.

Independent candidates have until 7 p.m. June 11-the day of the primary-to file the necessary signatures (125 registered voters in their respective district) to be placed on the November ballot.

As for incumbents, Fore will not be running but fellow supervisors Howard “Pete” Campbell (Prospect), Gantt (Leigh) and Jim Wilck (Farmville 701) confirmed plans to run.

Campbell, elected as an independent four years ago, plans to run as an independent again this election.

He's already working on the petitions. Campbell figures being an independent is better, noting that you don't have a party affiliation.

“You know if you don't like the way the party's voting, you don't have to vote with them,” Campbell said.

Gantt, elected as a Republican in 2009, has decided to run again as a Republican.

“You know I thought about this a lot about this weekend and right now there are five Democrats on the board, two Independents and only one Republican. I won this seat four years ago as a Republican and I'm (going to) work to win it again as a Republican.”

He added that he thinks if he sits down and explains to the citizens in Leigh District what they've been able to accomplish in the last four years he will be fine.

Gantt offers that the schools have gotten a lot better, their relationships with the school board and the Town are better “and we're on the right track. I just want to be on the board long enough to keep it on the right track.”

Gantt said he believes in term limits and said he doesn't see himself doing it for four and five terms, assessing that he thinks two's going to do it “and I'll work with whoever wants to take the seat after that to keep things on the status quo.”

Gantt would also tell The Herald that Fore is going to be missed on the board.

“He really had a lot of patience with me last year and…worked with me to get a lot of things accomplished that weren't easy things,” Gantt said. “There were a lot of things he disagreed with me on that he still let me work on whether they passed or not. But, I really am (going to) miss Buckie on the board.”

Wilck also confirmed plans to run for re-election as an Independent candidate. He noted that he thought about it and considered not running, but assessed that he's made some improvements and would like to do more. Specifically he cited that he would like to see the Town and the County work together and to see the schools improve.

Wilck also feels that he's seen some improvement and would like to see more.

“And…from a budgetary standpoint, I'd certainly like to see us stop wasting money on developers and whatnot and perhaps be able to help out a little bit more with the schools and the library,” Wilck said.