Fair rolls to win county executive race

By Thomas Wilson

STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com

   Dale E. Fair captured the county's top executive office in his first run for public office, according to unofficial results in Thursday's county election.
   Fair garnered 4,913 votes, outdistancing nearest challenger -- Carter County school board Chairman Bobby McClain -- who received 3,507 votes.
   Former Sessions Court Judge Richard Z. Gray picked up 2,590 votes while Brad Green received 1,044 votes.
   Gray made a strong showing in the Roan Mountain, Valley Forge, High School and East Side precincts.
   Other county executive candidates Janet Hart Hyder earned 671 votes, Stanley Bailey got 592 votes, and Kevin B. Colbaugh picked up 495 votes, according to unofficial vote totals.
   The unofficial voting totals came from absentee votes, early voting ballots and 20 of 21 county precincts excluding Elk Mills.
   "The uncertainty of what's coming to or being taken away from our county is the biggest financial challenge we have, plus making the current process as efficient as possible and finding any way we can to reduce our expenses in order to minimize our chances of increasing our taxes. That's the bottom line," he said.
   Fair won 18 of 20 precincts earning high vote totals in the county's west end precincts of High School, West Side, and Gap Creek. He also led all candidates in early voting with 1,572 votes. McClain finished second in early voting with 1,006 votes.
   McClain won his home district of Hampton as well as winning the Roan Mountain, Tiger Valley, and Elk Mills precincts. He also ran a very strong race in the Happy Valley area, earning 196 votes to Fair's 262.
   Green opted to pursue the county executive office rather than run for re-election as a 6th District county commissioner. Green enjoyed his best precinct showing in his Valley Forge home where he picked up 93 votes.
   Green and Gray had touted plans to revive the county's sagging economic base.
   Fair, McClain and Gray poured the most money into their campaigns.
   Fair's war chest totaled $10,498 in contributions and campaign expenses of $8,582, according to his financial disclosure statement.
   Gray paced all county executive candidates with reported contributions totaling $11,745 and expenditures of $9,733, according to his financial disclosure statement. McClain financed his campaign himself, reporting expenditures of $9,459 but only $2,100 of non-itemized contributions under $100, according to the statement.
   All election results are unofficial until certified.