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B.J. Fletcher wins Albany Ward III race; Ivey Hines, Bobby Coleman headed for Ward II runoff

Fletcher’s Ward III coalition carries her to a lopsided victory

Ward III Albany City Commission candidate B.J. Fletcher, left, talks with elections official Gena Moorhead at the Covenant Presbyterian Church precinct after voting in the Albany municipal election Tuesday. (Staff photo: Carlton Fletcher)

Ward III Albany City Commission candidate B.J. Fletcher, left, talks with elections official Gena Moorhead at the Covenant Presbyterian Church precinct after voting in the Albany municipal election Tuesday. (Staff photo: Carlton Fletcher)

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Ward III City Commission candidate Cheryl Calhoun’s campaign manager Dorothy Walker holds up a sign in support of the candidate near Shiloh Baptist Church Tuesday. (Staff photo: Carlton Fletcher)

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Challenger Bobby Coleman finished second among Ward II Albany City Commission candidates Tuesday to qualify for the Dec. 3 municipal runoff. (Albany Herald file photo)

ALBANY — There will be at least one new Albany city commissioner taking office when the commission convenes in 2014.

In a victory that was stunning in its ease, businesswoman B.J. Fletcher was assured of the commission’s Ward III seat after claiming 64.5 percent of the votes cast in the ward’s seven precincts on election day, outpolling incumbent Christopher Pike and fellow challenger Cheryl Calhoun. With absentee and early votes included in unofficial totals Tuesday evening, Fletcher had 645 votes to Pike’s 199 and Calhoun’s 153.

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Ward III Albany City Commission candidate B.J. Fletcher prepares to vote at the Covenant Presbyterian Church Precinct Tuesday. (Staff photo: Carlton Fletcher)

In the Ward II race, incumbent Ivey Hines won a runoff spot against challenger Bobby Coleman. With all five precincts in the ward counted, Hines led the three-candidate field with 295 votes after absentee and early votes were counted. Coleman had 274 votes to qualify for the Dec. 3 runoff election. The ward’s third candidate, Demetrius Love, garnered 72 votes.

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Albany City Commissioner Ivey Hines led the three-candidate field in Ward II voting Tuesday to qualigy for the Dec. 3 runoff election. (Albany Herald file photo)

There were 1,000 votes cast in Ward III and 642 in Ward II. Of those 1,642 votes, 1,366 were cast election day. The remaining 276 votes were cast in early voting (181) and absentee ballots (95), according to unofficial election totals.

“This feels great; we were hoping to win the election without a runoff,” Fletcher said as it became apparent she would claim the seat. “We created a coalition of voters across the ward, and that’s what won this race.”

Before the absentee and early votes were counted, Hines was reluctant to presume that he had landed a runoff spot.

“There are still enough absentee and early votes left to make it uncertain,” Hines said. “It’s a shame that we didn’t have more voters out. Any time you have a low vote turnout, it’s going to be a close race.”

Only 13.9 percent of the two wards’ 11,801 registered voters went to the polls or voted early, a factor that seemed to favor Fletcher in her race. She gained an insurmountable lead in the Covenant Presbyterian Church Precinct by claiming 332 votes to Pike’s 34 and Calhoun’s 14. Fletcher even won by a more than 2-to-1 margin over Pike and Calhoun in the South Albany Litman Cathedral Precinct, earning 30 votes to 13 each for Pike and Calhoun.

Coleman claimed a big early lead in the Jackson Heights Elementary Precinct, garnering 127 votes to Hines’ 89 and Love’s 18. Hines won in all four of the ward’s other precincts.

Calhoun got a call from one of her supporters early in the morning who claimed that she was not given an opportunity to vote in the Ward III race despite clearly living in the ward. A call to the Elections office quickly cleared up the matter.

“What happened is that the voter had registered under her maiden name and her ID card was listed under her married name,” Elections Supervisor Ginger Nickerson said. “She didn’t inform (elections officials) of the name change.

“Other than that one issue, which was quickly cleared up by a member of our Elections Board, today went smoothly.”

ALBANY CITY COMMISSION

Ward II and III vote totals

WARD 2
Coleman Hines Love
Palmyra 59 67 20
Sherwood Elm 21 24 11
Phoebe Ed 14 23 8
Jackson Hts 127 89 18
Albany Middle 15 21 5
Absentees/early 38

71

10

Totals 274 295 72
WARD 3
Calhoun Fletcher Pike
Sherwood Elm 6 89 8
Covenant Ch 14 332 34
Merry Acres 9 45 4
Carver Teen 46 40 69
Shiloh Bapt 29 27 33
Litman Cath 13 30 13
Phoebe Ed 3 8 5
Absentees/early 33

74

33

Totals 153 645

199