L-R: Barbara Dudley, Sandra Marin, Shanna Adams and Jason Waldrop hold campaign signs as cars pull into the parking lot to the Newberry Fire Station on Tuesday.
NEWBERRY – A crowd of over 50 people gathered around the Newberry Fire Station Tuesday night. The polls were closed, and they were waiting for the results of the general election.
Three commissioners were up for re-election on Tuesday, and all three won against their respective opponents. Incumbents Joe Hoffman, Lois Forte and Alena Lawson will serve another two years on the Newberry City Commission.
Candidates and supporters arrived at the fire station early Tuesday morning to greet voters as the polls opened at 7 a.m.
After the ballots were counted, the numbers showed that nearly 700 voters turned out and another 69 filled out absentee ballots.
In Group 1, Hoffman, a city commissioner since 2002, won against his two challengers with over 60 percent of the vote. Opponents, business owner Tim Marden and long-time Newberry resident Linda Woodcock garnered 100 and 230 votes, respectively.
Hoffman said he thinks the election results reflect a positive attitude about the city’s dealings with sports tourism.
“This is a lot of hard work by a lot of good people,” he said.
A slightly narrower gap was found between the candidates in Group 2. The two candidates were separated by only about 10 percent, or 81 votes. With 423 votes, Forte, who has served the Newberry City Commission for about 20 years, defeated Newberry Main Street Program Director Barbara Hendrix, who earned 342 votes.
In the last couple of elections, Forte has run unopposed, and her eyes filled with tears when it was announced that she had won.
“I just worked so hard this time,” she said.
Of the people that showed up to vote, Forte said, “I just thank them from the bottom of my heart.”
Hendrix said she hopes to run again in a couple of years.
In Group 3, Lawson retained her seat with 449 votes. Monty Farnsworth, a former city commissioner and nurse, pulled out 311 votes.
Lawson said she learned a lot from her constituents during her door-to-door campaign.
“I’m elated that I was elected for a sixth term, but I don’t take constituents for granted,” she said.
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