Two upsets in Granville County school board race

May. 06, 2014 @ 11:42 PM

OXFORD — Two of the three incumbent members of the Granville County Board of Education went down to defeat in Tuesday’s primary election.

Challenger Tom Houlihan outpolled incumbent Brenda Dickerson-Daniel by 43 votes for the District 2 seat. Houlihan received 975 votes (50.9 percent of the votes cast) to Daniel’s 932 votes (48.7 percent). Daniel is the current chairwoman of the board.

In District 6, Danny Eudy received 391 votes (53.2 percent) to defeat incumbent Catherine “Rose” Lyon, who received 335 votes (45.6 percent).

Toney Smith, who was unopposed for the District 1 seat, received 932 votes, 94.33 percent of those cast. Fifty-six write-in votes accounted for 5.6 percent of the votes cast.

“I think people want a change,” Houlihan said. “They want our schools to do better. That is clearly the message. It’s about student achievement.”

Eudy said people he talked to during the campaign asked how graduation rates could be improved and how children could make better progress in reading. “They asked, ‘What can we do to help the teachers?’ Some were not aware of the conditions teachers faced,” he said, saying that teachers had not received raises and were spending personal money for teaching materials.

The board of education was caught in controversy in recent months. A motion approved at a special called meeting to hire an outside organization to conduct an audit of policies and practices related to administrative salaries prompted some harsh words by one member of the board, which were answered by harsh words in a joint letter by three members of the board.

The extent that the controversy influenced voters in the primary election is unclear.

Incumbent Brindell Wilkins Jr. easily won the Democratic nomination for sheriff, polling 4,519 votes (74.9 percent). Challengers Jamye Hughes received 831 votes (13.7 percent) and Ronald Smith Sr. received 678 votes (11.2 percent).

“I ran on my record about what we’ve done in the past four years,” Wilkins said. “People trust me and my staff. You have to have the people’s support if you want to be successful.”

In the race for the Democratic nomination for Clerk of Superior Court, Yancey Washington received 2,695 votes (44.8 percent) to C.F. Knott’s 2,521 votes (41.9 percent) and Danny Emory’s 789 votes (13.1 percent).

 

Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.