Grafton Beats Stowe; Wins Special Election

Michelle Grafton will serve the remainder of the unexpired term of the late Harold Andrews on the Stephens County Commission.

Grafton defeated Ralph Stowe in Tuesday’s special election for Post One on the Stephens County Commission 617 to 303.

That breaks down to 67.07 percent of the vote for Grafton to 32.93 percent of the vote for Stowe.

Grafton appreciates all of the support from voters.

“I just want to thank everyone who got out and voted and want to thank Ralph Stowe for running a clean race,” said Grafton.  “I look forward to serving the citizens of Stephens County this year.  Hopefully, I will get the full four-year term as well.”

Grafton said she feels like this year will be a big one for Stephens County.

“We have already progressed so much with the land use and I hope to see us continuing with progression and getting some of our jobs back,” said Grafton.  “Our citizens certainly deserve it.”

The unexpired term Grafton is serving out will run through December 31.

During that time, Grafton said a main goal is continuing to see the county’s legal action against Wilbros through.

“That is not over and done with yet,” said Grafton of the county’s suit against the business over odors emanating from its facility.  “In my opinion, that is the most important thing to focus on right now because with that (Wilbros) here, it is not going to bring us any jobs.”

Grafton and Stowe will square off again as the only two candidates in the May Republican primary for Post One on the Stephens County Commission with no Democratic opposition waiting.

The winner in May will serve a full four-year term on the Stephens County Commission starting January 1, 2015.

Pointing out that there is another race to run in the near future, Stowe also thanked his supporters.

“My supporters are great,” said Stowe.  “I want to thank everybody and everything they have done for me.”

Only 920 voters cast ballots out of 12,652 registered voters in Stephens County.

That equals a turnout of 7.27 percent.

Stephens County Registrar Theresa Kelley said things went well at the polls Tuesday with no problems, except for that low turnout.

“The only problem I see that we had was that we did not have a whole lot of voters out there today,” said Kelley.

This was the second election in which all county voters on Election Day cast their ballots at the single voting precinct located at the Stephens County Senior Center.

Kelley said once again, the single voting location saved Stephens County money.

“With eight precincts (under the old system), I had to man them with a minimum of four people (each),” said Kelley.  “That makes 32 people.  I have to pay them.  Basically, this election saved the county taxpayers about $4,500 because I only had to use about nine people (as poll workers).”

She went on to say that she appreciates all of the poll workers that helped out Tuesday.

“I cannot do an election without my poll workers and I appreciate everyone who was out there today waiting for the voters to come in,” said Kelley.

Kelley does note that all results are unofficial until they are certified.

She will do that today, she said.