TODAY'S NEWS

Bailey, Shruntz out; Kline in on Election Day

The Shenandoah Valley-Herald

WOODSTOCK — Shenandoah County voters ousted two supervisors and replaced two School Board members in a wave of change during Election Day on Tuesday.

Cindy Bailey and Marsha Shruntz, who represent the 4th and 5th districts on the Board of Supervisors, were denied second terms by challengers Karl Roulston and Dennis Morris, respectively.

Shelby Kline, a retired teacher and school principal, beat two fellow opponents to claim the District 5 School Board seat being vacated by two-term incumbent Irving “Skeeter” Getz. The other two seats up for grabs were won by candidates who ran unopposed.

While challengers and political novices reigned over most of the ballot, incumbent District 1 Supervisor Dick Neese snuck past his opponent, Karen Kwiatkowski, by 73 votes to earn a fifth term in office.


Vote Totals
Roulston beat Bailey by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. He received 1,487 votes, or 67.5 percent of the District 4 vote, to Bailey’s 694, or 31.6 percent, according to unofficial results from the Virginia Department of Elections. Both candidates are independents.

The District 5 supervisor race turned out similarly. Morris, a Republican, received 1,589 votes, or 65.6 percent, while Shruntz, an independent, netted 821 votes, or nearly 34 percent, the results said.

Roulston, a political first-timer, is the co-founder of Regulus Group, a systems engineering firm in Woodstock. Morris was elected District 5 supervisor in 1977 and held the seat for nine terms, until he was ousted by Shruntz in 2013.

In District 1, Neese bested Kwiatkowski by a 51-percent-to-48-percent margin. He received 1,110 votes, while Kwiatkowski netted 1,037. She is a Republican, while Neese switched his party affiliation from Republican to independent in January.

In the county’s most contested race, Kline received 1,281 votes, or 55.4 percent, in the District 5 School Board contest, according to the results. Chris Boies, vice president of the Chamber of Commerce and an administrator at Lord Fairfax Community College, received 752 votes, or 32.5 percent of the district, the results said.

Eugene Putkowski, a school bus driver from Star Tannery, netted 267 votes, or 11.5 percent, the results said.

School Board Chairwoman Karen Whetzel, who represents District 1, ran unopposed for a third term and received 1,754 votes.

Michelle Manning also ran unopposed for the District 4 seat being vacated by one-term incumbent Katheryn Freakley. Manning netted 1,659 votes, the results said.

Freakley and Getz declined to run for another term on the School Board. All of those seats are nonpartisan.

In the state races, Shenandoah County continued to vote largely Republican. Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie won 9,214 votes, or 69 percent of the county, while Democratic candidate Ralph Northam won 3,930 votes, or 29.5 percent, the results said.

Libertarian candidate Cliff Hyra netted 157 votes, or nearly 1.2 percent of county voters, the results said.

Republican lieutenant governor candidate Jill Vogel handily won the county with 9,734 votes, or 73.6 percent, the results said. Her Democratic opponent, Justin Fairfax, won 3,485 votes, or 26.3 percent.

In the attorney general race, John Adams completed the Republican trifecta with 9,252 votes, or 70 percent of the county. Democrat Mark Herring won 3,912 votes, or 29.7 percent, the results said.

Overall turnout totaled 47.7 percent, according to the Voter Registration office in Woodstock. Of about 28,000 registered voters in the county, 12,716 voted in person and 645 cast absentee ballots, the office said.

Turnout among individual precincts ranged from 35.7 percent in Strasburg to 56 percent in Cedar Creek, Registrar Lisa W. McDonald said on Tuesday night.


‘Everybody is Relieved’
In New Market, about 800 of the 1st District’s 3,000 registered voters had cast their ballots at the town’s fire and rescue station by 1 p.m., according to Assistant Precinct Chief Beverly Fry.

“We’ve been getting well over 100 voters an hour since 6 [a.m.],” Fry, 70, said.

Tuesday marked her second election volunteering in Virginia. A native of Allentown, Pa., where she also volunteered during elections, Fry said the technology difference between states took some getting used to.

“We had touch machines there, so going back to the paper ballots, even though their [scanned] electronic, that was different,” she said.

In September, the Virginia Board of Elections mandated that the touchscreen machines be phased out by 2019 due to questions about their security, McDonald said.

As the line of voters grew at the firehouse, Fry marveled at the number of voters she had seen compared to her home city of about 120,000 people.

“There are more voters in New Market than in the city I was in,” she said. “People are more interested in voting in Virginia than in Pennsylvania.”

Despite not facing any opposition at the polls, Whetzel stood under an awning in the parking lot chatting with voters during the early afternoon.

“My husband said, ‘You don’t have to be out there,’ but I want to show people that I’m interested,” she said.

In a year that saw a leadership crisis on the Board of Supervisors and the creation of a political action committee with the goal of ousting two of those supervisors, Whetzel said she was glad to see the election season come to an end.

“I think everybody is relieved,” she said. “Not everybody will be happy, but we’re glad it’s over.”





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