Clerk’s race was notable

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

The election for Suffolk Clerk of Court upheld the expression that you shouldn’t count your chickens until they’ve hatched In this instance, twice.

One day after declaring Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Randy Carter winner of the seat, the city’s electoral board discovered polling errors that narrowed the gap between Carter and contender Kirk Pretlow to just 16 votes. Unofficial election results reported Tuesday showed Pretlow, a Suffolk attorney, with 2,467 votes, trailing behind Carter by 128 votes. Initial figures had Carter beating six opponents to win the race with 2,595 votes. Pretlow, an attorney, filed for a recount within the 10 days he was allowed.

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Other candidates included Clinton Jenkins, who pulled in 1,982 votes; Barbara X. Gayle, 1,669 votes; Robert Nelms, 697 votes; Johnnie Edwards, 656 votes; and Tony Brown, 228 votes.

All of them were seeking the post vacated by the late Henry C. Murden, former clerk of the court who assisted citizens of Suffolk for more than 50 years. Murden, who retiring earlier this year, died in Aug. 11. He had already named Carter as his choice for replacing him.

But a month to the day after the voting, Suffolk Circuit Court Judge Westbrook J. Parker announced the recount still favored Carter with 2,591 votes, and Pretlow 2,477, or a difference of only 114 votes.

In other races affecting Suffolk residents, Sen. Frederick Quayle prevailed in the 13th district against Richard Ramsey. Sen. L. Louise Lucas held on to her seat in the 18th district in her race against Walter D. &uot;Walt&uot; Brown. Unopposed candidates in the House of Delegates elections representing parts of the city include S. Chris Jones, 76th District; Lionell Spruill, 77th District, and Johnny S. Joannou, of the 79 district, all of whom will return to Richmond.

Suffolk has 45,000 registered voters and just over 10,000 went to the polls on Tuesday.