Brown beats Hall in Esc. County Commission runoff
Published 7:26 pm Monday, July 5, 2004
By By ARTHUR McLEAN Special to The Standard
William Brown poured on the votes to win his first term in the District 4 seat of the Escambia County Commission after Tuesday's runoff. Brown defeated incumbent commissioner James (Junior) Hall.
When reached at home, Brown thanked the voters for the victory. "I would like to thank the people that put me in office. I really appreciate it from the bottom of my heart," Brown said. "I'm going to try to serve them like they need me to, because the office isn't mine. It belongs to the people."
Hall was seeking his second term as a commissioner but was unable to claim enough votes to win.
Brown led the voting in January's Democratic primary and he added to his vote totals with the runoff victory. Because there is no Republican running for the seat, the primary runoff victory assures Brown of the position come November's general election.
During the June 1, primary, voting ended with Brown holding a slight edge over Hall and Joey Kelley in a three-man race. But Brown was not able to take enough votes during the primary to claim victory. For the June 1, primary, Brown took 416 votes. For the runoff, he claimed 487 votes. Hall's vote totals, however, dropped slightly between the primary and the runoff. Hall took 367 votes on June 1, but he claimed 309 votes in the runoff.
Voter turnout suffered in the local runoff with a total of only 794 votes cast compared to a total of 1,067 total votes cast in the race June 1.
The runoff countered conventional wisdom that says low voter turnouts usually favor the incumbent. It's unclear how much impact Joey Kelley's endorsement of the Brown campaign had in the runoff.
Voting officials reported no significant problems with voting during the runoff. During the June 1, primary, an erroneous voter list placed more than 100 voters outside the District 4 voting district. After the primary, Kelley endorsed Brown's campaign while declining to file a challenge to the results, saying a challenge would be a hardship on the voters of the district.