Cumberland County’s voters come out in big numbers

Published 9:53 am Wednesday, November 8, 2023

The numbers kept climbing throughout the day, as more and more people came in to cast a ballot. In Cumberland County, an impressive 67% of voters turned out for Tuesday’s election, and based on the results, it was also clear who they came to support. 

Cumberland Sheriff Darrell Hodges won re-election with 89% of the vote, also receiving the most votes of any county candidate on the night. Hodges received 2,847 votes, with more possibly coming from absentee and early voting ballots still to be counted. To put that number in perspective, Hodges got more votes than both Thomas Garrett and John McGuire, who won their respective races for State Senate and House of Delegates in Cumberland. 

But one thing we kept hearing from residents as they went to vote was how satisfied they were with the sheriff’s office. That was something echoed in letters to the editor in recent months and through comments made at some government meetings. 

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The numbers don’t lie. During 2022, the crime numbers stayed low in Cumberland County. There were no murders, kidnappings, rapes or similar crimes. You can also count on one hand the number of burglaries and counterfeit situations the sheriff’s department responded to. That’s a reverse from the overall trend in Virginia. And the numbers are lower, dramatically so in some cases, than in neighboring Buckingham and Prince Edward counties.

Looking at crime numbers

Overall in Cumberland, there were 84 reported crimes against property in 2022. That means things like robbery, burglary, motor vehicle theft and forgery, among others. Compare that to 270 property crimes reported in Buckingham County and 514 reported during the same period in Prince Edward County. 

Looking closer at the property crimes, there were only three reports of ID theft, one of credit card fraud, seven burglaries, five cases of counterfeit material and 24 reports of vandalism. The same crimes are much higher in other counties. Cumberland only saw three reports of motor vehicle theft, for example, in 2022. Neighboring Prince Edward reported 14, while Buckingham saw 34. 

And, as we mentioned, the comparisons were similar for “crimes against people”, such as assaults, murder, rape and intimidation. Cumberland only reported 41 total incidents, compared to 70 in Buckingham and 212 in Prince Edward. The majority of those in Cumberland were assault cases, with 26 simple assault and 10 reports of aggravated assault. 

Voters decide other races

But beyond the sheriff’s race, more people were elected Tuesday night in Cumberland. Unlike some other areas, there is no waiting period needed, while other ballots are counted. Residents came out and made it clear who they wanted in each position here.

Deidre Martin won the Clerk of Court race with 98% of the vote, with Wendy Hannah doing the same in the Commonwealth’s Attorney race, Lee Pfeiffer collecting the same amount of voters for Treasurer and Julie Phillips following suit for the Commissioner of Revenue. 

Now when it comes to the County Board of Supervisors, things are a bit different. Two races still have yet to be officially decided. That’s because it went down to the wire in each case and, much like in Prince Edward, early voting, absentee and provisional ballots could help decide the final winner. 

For the District 1 seat, Bryan Paul Hamlet has the lead with 365 votes, compared to Dolph Davis’s 295. But given the fact there were 711 voters casting early ballots and others mailed in, it’s too early for an official winner to be named. Mailed ballots can come in through Friday, as long as they were postmarked by Election Day. 

The same goes for the District 2 seat on the board. John Newman has 416 votes, good enough for 66% of ballots cast in the race. Ron Tavernier, meanwhile, picked up 205. But as mentioned above, that’s still enough where early and absentee voters could make a difference. 

The next three seats on the Board of Supervisors can officially be called, however, as only one candidate ran in each, with very few write-ins. 

It was Eurika Tyree winning in the District 3 race, with 93% of the vote. Paul Stimpson III won in District 4 with 96% and Robert Sanders Jr. picked up 96.5% en route to a District 5 win. 

Voters choose two winners

Meanwhile, two school board races were decided and two others will wait to see what write-in votes were cast. 

Ginger Sanderson ran unopposed for the District 1 seat on the school board, collecting 97% of the vote. The same was true for District 3’s Latesha Anderson, who brought in 96.7%, and Everleane Randolph, who had 98% of the vote in District 5.  

The District 2 and District 4 representatives on the school board will likely not be known until Friday at the earliest, as both were write-in races. No candidate in each case filed to run by the deadline, so both were decided by write-in choices. In District 2, 137 people cast a write-in ballot, while 109 did the same in District 4.