Obama wins Franklin

Published 1:09 am Wednesday, November 5, 2008

FRANKLIN—Franklin voted with the rest of the state and country Tuesday, electing Sen. Barack Obama the 44th president of the United States.

In complete but unofficial Franklin results, Obama, the Illinois senator and Democratic nominee, had 2,815 votes, or 64 percent, to 1,574 votes for Republican John McCain.

About 150 people watching the returns at Paul D. Camp Community College’s Workforce Development Center shouted, hugged and cried when Obama was declared the winner. Attendees there were overwhelmed with the historic implications of an Obama presidency.

“I came out tonight because this is a historic occasion, not just for African-Americans but for America as a whole,” said Yolanda Lee Brown of Franklin.

“My mother is a lifelong Republican who at the age of 88 decided she would vote for Barack Obama,” said Boykins resident Inga Francis. “She told me that nobody likes change, however, a nation that does not change is going to stagnate.”

McCain fared better in Southampton County and Isle of Wight County than in Franklin.

In Isle of Wight, McCain had 11,253 votes, or 57 percent, to Obama’s 8,569.

In Southampton County, McCain was leading narrowly with all but absentee ballots counted. The Arizona senator had 4,264 votes, or 51 percent, to Obama’s 4,046.

Democrat Mark Warner swept all three area localities in his victory over former Gov. Jim Gilmore in the race to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. John Warner, R-Va. The Democrat won in Southampton County with 5,428 votes, or 66 percent, to Jim Gilmore’s 2,173 votes with all but absentee ballots counted.

In Isle of Wight, Warner earned 11,574 votes, or 60 percent, to Gilmore’s 7,847. In Franklin, voters overwhelmingly approved Warner with 3,214 votes, or 76 percent, to Gilmore’s 957.

In the race for U.S. House of Representatives, incumbent Randy Forbes carried Franklin, Southampton County and Isle of Wight County and went on to beat challenger Andrea Miller.

In Southampton County, with all but absentee ballots counted, Forbes had 4,913 votes, or 61 percent, to Miller’s 3,079.

“In Franklin, with all ballots counted, Forbes won narrowly — 2,030 votes, or 51 percent, to Miller’s 1,965.

In Isle of Wight County, with all but absentee ballots counted, Forbes received 12,913 votes, or 67 percent, to Miller’s 6,309.

The state Board of Elections reported record turnout at polls statewide on Tuesday.

“We have confirmed that this morning at one Chesapeake precinct there were as many as 1,000 people standing in line,” a press release said.

Western Tidewater voters turned out in droves, too. Seventy-four percent and 70 percent of registered voters in Franklin and Southampton, respectively, cast a vote. In Isle of Wight, 80 percent of registered voters cast a ballot.

Franklin Registrar Sandra Holloman prepared her staff for a larger-than-normal turnout but some election workers were still stunned by the increased turnout.

“I knew it would be busy, but I didn’t think we’d see anything like this,” said Sherita Parker, chief of Voter Precinct No. 4 at the Sportsman Club. “In the last election, only 200 people voted. This time we had over 440 by lunchtime.”

Republican volunteer Kenny Truitt was disappointed but resigned to the results.

“We may not of won the war but we fought a good battle here in this part of Virginia,” he said. “People can feel good about that fact.”