Four challengers win seats

Published 11:33 pm Tuesday, November 8, 2011

John Drewry, who worked on the campaign for Jack Stutts, left, makes a phone call to report numbers, while Barry Porter, unofficial winner in the Franklin District, looks over early numbers from Tuesday's election. GWEN ALBERS/TIDEWATER NEWS

COURTLAND—The challengers running in four races for Southampton County Supervisor beat the incumbents during Tuesday’s election, according to unofficial results.

Independent Bruce Phillips unseated two-term Democrat Moses Wyche 455 to 367 in the Capron District and Independent Barry Porter beat Republican Walter Young 399 to 375. Young, who was seeking his fifth, four-year term, said he will ask for a recount.

In the Jerusalem District, Independent Dr. Alan Edwards unseated two-term Republican Anita Felts 420 to 336, while in the Newsoms District, Independent Glenn Updike defeated two-term Republican Walt Brown 377 to 305.

“I think the voters have spoken,” said Porter, a 64-year-old retired director of finance of Mobile Corp. “Now the hard work begins.”

Porter said he knew the race would be close, but the story isn’t his win. It’s the fact that the challengers won.

“People are starting to pay attention to what supervisors are doing,” he said. “They are concerned because some have been there so long, they have become complacent. When you dig down in some of the decisions, you can see why the county has debt problems and why taxes are going up.”

Young, 71, said he was surprised at the results.

“I will definitely ask for a recount,” the retired farmer said. “After serving 16 years, I thought the people had a little more confidence in me then to just kick me out and get someone new in. I feel I served the county well.”

Phillips was humbled by the win.

“I will do everything I can to do the best job that I can,” said the 62-year-old farmer and owner of Raccoon Creek Outfitters. “I believe it proves you can make a change in your life.”

Phillips, 62, was referring to two jail terms he served in the early 1970s and mid-1980s on cocaine-related convictions, which were made public one week ago, yet common knowledge in Capron.

Wyche, 69, said he was kind of surprised.

“I guess people got want they wanted,” he said. “I want to congratulate Bruce. People wanted a change, so they got it. I wish him the best.”

Updike, 71, called the sweep by the challengers a great day for Southampton County.

“This is the first step in balancing the budget, reducing taxes and paying down the debt,” he said. “I think we all four are committed to those principles.”

“It has been an honor for me and a privilege to receive the voters’ support,” Updike added. “In the past six months, I was asking for your votes. Now I’m asking for your suggestions and prayers on how we can make the county the best place to live in Virginia.”

Brown called the election a strong race.

“Being on the board of supervisors is not a career, it’s an honor,” said the 67-year-old retired Army lieutenant colonel. “I served eight years and I gave 150 percent to my constituents. I always fought to keep taxes low and fought to bring jobs into the county.”

Edwards noted now the hard work begins.

“The county was going down the tubes and just wanted a change,” said the 63-year-old physician.

Felts could not be reached.