Szakos top vote-getter, Bellamy and Fenwick tie in Democratic primary

City officials are going over Tuesday's Democratic primary results Wednesday morning as they attempt to break the tie for second place. Photo: Laura Ingles. City officials are going over Tuesday’s Democratic primary results Wednesday morning as they attempt to break the tie for second place. Photo: Laura Ingles.

Update: After a two-hour electoral board meeting this morning, Bob Fenwick and Wes Bellamy remain in an effective tie for the number-two spot on the Democratic ticket for Charlottesville City Council.

“I thought the drama was over yesterday,” Fenwick said in the registrar’s office before the meeting began.

The board gathered at 9:30am to confirm results from each precinct, and count the 11 provisional ballots. One ballot was thrown out, and six were counted on the spot. Two of those six voters chose only one candidate each, leaving Fenwick with three new votes, Bellamy with none, Kristin Szakos with five, and Melvin Grady with two.

Four more provisional ballots, cast by voters who showed up at the polls without ID, will be certified no later than Friday, according to General Registrar Sheri Iachetta. Two of the four, whom officials contacted by phone, said they would present identification to the registrar this afternoon. The remaining two did not respond.

The electoral board will reconvene at noon on Friday unless all four respond before then, officials said. It’s conceivable the race could still end in a tie, which Democratic Party Co-Chair Linda Seaman said would require a coin toss or other gambling method of the candidates’ choice (e.g. five-card draw) to determine the final winner.

The outcome of the Democratic primary for Charlottesville City Council will be determined this morning, but it could come down to a coin toss.

Incumbent Kristin Szakos won the most votes in yesterday’s five-way primary contest—1,370—securing her place on the ballot in November. But both newcomer Wes Bellamy and former independent candidate Bob Fenwick each took 1,088 votes, tying for the second-place slot.

City Democratic Party co-chair Linda Seaman said that means the Charlottesville Electoral Board must turn to the eight provisional ballots cast yesterday to look for a tie-breaker. That count takes place at 9:30am in the city registrar’s office.

“It’s very possible that the two candidates who are tied received no votes in the provisional ballots,” Seaman said. “We have no idea.”

And if that’s the case, she said, or if the post-provisional count still leaves the candidates tied, the outcome would be decided by a coin flip. Seaman called the situation highly unusual. “It hasn’t happened in my memory,” she said.

The other two candidates, Melvin Grad and Adam Lees, received 798 and 266 respectively.

Todd Divers won his bid for candidacy in the race for Commissioner of Revenue with 1,287 votes; his opponent, Jonathan Stevens, received 1,175 votes. Commonwealth’s Attorney incumbent Dave Chapman took that race with 1,784 votes to Steve Deaton’s 707.