NEW CASTLE – Former runner-up Sharon Oliver is apparently the winner over current Craig County Clerk of Circuit Court Sharon K. Braden in the hotly contested, eight-person race in Craig County.
Oliver narrowly missed defeating then-Clerk Peggy Bostic when the two ran five years ago. Bostic retired Dec. 31 and Braden took over for the remainder of this year.
Craig County citizens waited impatiently tonight to find out who their next clerk of circuit court would be in a race that was certain to fracture the total number of votes cast.
Results reported at 10:24 p.m., with 11 out of the 12 precincts reporting, showed Oliver with 23.8 percent of the vote or 548 votes. The closest to her was Virginia State Police Officer Trevor N. Craddock with 21.2 percent, and Braden with 16.6 percent. The only precinct whose votes had not been counted and reported was the Central Absentee Precinct.
Election results are not official until the Craig Board of Elections meets the day after the election and certifies numbers to the Clerk of Court’s office.
Results were slow being reported to the Virginia State Board of Elections. More than three hours after polls closed at 7 p.m. – and when three-fourths of the state had reported – Craig’s largest precinct, Craig City, still had not turned in its numbers to the Craig County Registrar’s office. The other 11 precincts had reported, according to the registrar’s office, which was not releasing any results at 9:45 p.m.
At 10:14 p.m., Craig reported one precinct to the state, which showed Oliver ahead in the field, with 28.8 percent of the votes for that one precinct; next was Trevor Craddock with 24.6 percent, followed by Braden with 12.6 percent.
Voters could choose among Braden, who was first on the ballot by alphabet; Lisa Campbell, Craddock, Billy Frazier, Sonja Jones, Oliver, Danielle Snider or Betty Wolfe.
Oliver and the other candidates were running to fill the remaining three years of Bostic’s eight-year-term.
Other decisions Craig County voters had was in the Congressional race, where Salem House of Delegates member Morgan Griffith, a conservative Republican, mounted a fierce campaign to take the 9th Congressional District seat from 14-term Congressman Rick Boucher of Abingdon, a Democrat. In the first Craig precinct reporting, Courthouse District, Griffith won the precinct’s votes, with 59.8 percent to Boucher’s 39.9 percent. A total of 438 voters cast votes in that precinct.
Craig County has 12 precincts and a total of 3,753 registered voters, according to the state’s website.