Democrats Floored by Tie Vote in Primary

June 12, 2013

Every voter has his or her Primary Day story, but few could have been prepared to get a lesson about just how much every vote counts.

Tuesday's Democratic Primary in Charlottesville ended in a second-place tie between city council candidates Bob Fenwick and Wes Bellamy.

"Surprised and shocked would be an understatement," Bellamy said Wednseday.

Incumbent councilor Kristin Szakos was the top vote-getter for the city council race. But the second Democratic candidate will still be determined, pending recounts and provisional ballots.

"Well, it's certainly surprising and most unusual to have a tie," said Linda Seaman, co-chair of the Charlottesville Democratic Party. "It tells us that we have, first of all, a lot of engaged voters, and we have voters who have varying opinions about what they want their government to look like."

Fenwick did not respond to messages Wednesday, but Bellamy said he's optimistic about the results.

"I was hoping for a clear-cut win, but that's not what we got, and we'll see where the chips are going to fall," he said.

The second-place winner will go on to campaign for the November election with Szakos, hoping for a seat on city council. Local Republicans are putting up two candidates of their own.

"Mr. Fenwick or myself, as well as Ms. Szakos, we're all very viable candidates and I'm really about supporting the Democratic Party," Bellamy said.

The latest that preliminary results would be announced is Friday afternoon, but it could be earlier, which is what many Democrats are hoping.

"None of us are ever prepared for uncertainty, and we like things to be very clear-cut," Seaman said. "And so I do believe this is extremely difficult on both candidates."

Bellamy called the campaign and election a learning experience, and it's one that he and many others won't soon forget.

"Regardless whether we win, lose or draw, this is going to be a fantastic opportunity not only for the young people here in Charlottesville but for the city to truly understand that every vote counts," he said.

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