James Clarke wins sheriff’s election

Published 10:45 am Wednesday, July 25, 2018

James Clarke is the winner of the Isle of Wight County’s special election for the position of sheriff. On Tuesday, Clarke defeated challenger James Pope with 4,722 votes to Pope’s 2,776 based on the results of 14 of the county’s 15 voting precincts. There were a total of six write-in votes and as of press time, the Camp’s Mill precinct near Franklin had not reported in.

James Clarke has been elected for the position of sheriff in Isle of Wight County. — Courtesy

Clarke has already been serving as county sheriff on an interim basis since March 1. His predecessor, Mark Marshall, announced his resignation in January. Clarke will now serve out the remainder of Marshall’s term in office, which expires on Dec. 31, 2019. Victoria Mainwaring, the county’s deputy registrar, said there will be another sheriff’s election on Nov. 5, 2019 for the term beginning on Jan. 1, 2020.

By press time, 14 of the county’s 15 voting precincts had reported in

Despite Clarke’s overall win, voters in the southern half of the county favored Pope. Pope carried Windsor with 310 votes to Clarke’s 239 and Walters with 212 votes to Clarke’s 114. Pope also carried Carrsville with 116 votes to Clarke’s 80 and Zuni with 212 votes to Clarke’s 164.

Votes recorded at the Isle of Wight Ruritan Clubhouse, located near the county courthouse, indicated a fairly even split between the candidates, with Clarke ultimately carrying the community with 137 votes to Pope’s 134.

All precincts saw low voter turnout. The community of Rushmere saw the highest turnout, with 33 percent of its 2,400 registered voters choosing to cast ballots.

“I’m overjoyed and excited,” said Sheriff James Clarke when asked for comments on the results of the election. “It was a rainy day, some roads were flooded, but still the citizens came out to exercise their right to vote, and for that I’m grateful.”

He also commended Pope, who also serves in the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office, for running a cordial and respectful campaign.

“There were no bad words; Lt. Pope is a fine man and he did a great job,” Clarke said.

Pope was unable to be reached for comments by press time.