Calhoun County Commissioner Tim Hodges appeared headed toward another term in office Tuesday night.
Hodges picked up 1,185 votes in a runoff election for the Republican nomination for the District 2 commission seat, besting challenger Danny Shears by exactly 50 votes.
Provisional votes — ballots cast when there’s some question about the voter’s registration status – have yet to be counted. Hodges, in a telephone interview Tuesday night, said that only 12 such ballots were cast.
“It was close, but at the end of the day, a win’s a win,” Hodges said.
With no Democrat in the race, Hodges is expected to retain the commission seat after the November general election.
The vote comes after six weeks of debate that centered on commissioner pay and the status of the Calhoun County Jail.
Shears, who owns a print shop in Anniston, argued that the commissioners – who make between $40,000 and $85,000 per year – are paid too much for what’s supposed to be a part-time job.
Hodges, the incumbent commissioner and owner of a local car dealership, argued that commissioner pay was set by state law, not by the current commission’s decisions. In the last weeks of the campaign, Hodges kept his focus on the status of the overcrowded county jail, announcing that state officials had found $500,000 for temporary pay increases for jail employees sometime this year. It’s still unclear where that money would come from or when it will be in hand.
In the week before the election, Hodges said he hoped to hold a Wednesday meeting with local officials on possible solutions to the jail situation. On Tuesday night, he said the exact time of the meeting was still up in the air; last-day campaigning distracted him from planning for the event.
Attempts to reach Shears were not immediately successful Tuesday night.