Runoffs set for local races

There will be a runoff between Annette Skinner, current Shelby County Tax Accessor, and County Commissioner Don Armstrong for the newly created Property Tax Commissioner office.

The office, which combines the tax accessor and tax collecter offices, was created by a vote of Shelby County residents last year.

County Commissioner Ted Crockett and Columbiana realtor Johnny Lowe were a distant third and fourth, respectively, in the polls.

An upbeat Skinner said she was not surprised at the poll results.

&uot;I think people supported me because of my 20 years of experience and the fact that my door has always been open to Shelby County residents.

&uot;I have had numerous people tell me that this is the friendliest office they have ever been to and they know I demand that because the taxpayers are paying our saleries. My record of dedication to my job and my honesty are reflected in the election results,&uot; Skinner said.

&uot;I never really felt the heat of competition, but when there are four in the race, chances are there will be a runoff. If there was a larger turnout, there definitely wouldn’t have been a runoff. As far as a run-off, I’m ready. My transmission doesn’t have a reverse.&uot;

Skinner received 46 percent of the vote, with Armstrong receiving 26 percent.

Other opponents, Crockett and Lowe received 21 and 8, respectively.

A hopeful Armstrong said he looks forward to a run-off.

&uot;I think people looked at me and saw a conservative individual who is looking forward to carrying Shelby County into the future with a vision. Technology is where we need to put our emphasis as a county because of the benefits we can receive.

&uot;I just want to thank everyone who supported me. I couldn’t have done anything without them,&uot; Armstrong said.

In the Shelby County Sheriff’s GOP race, current Chief Deputy Chris Curry, 60 percent, handily defeated Jefferson County Deputy and North Shelby resident Randy Christian, 30 percent.

Calera resident David Alexander came in a distant third, 10 percent.

Current Shelby County Sheriff James Jones chose to retire when his fourth term expires this year.

Curry said he was happy but &uot;tired.&uot;

&uot;Right now, I’m going to take a few days off. I want to thank those in law enforcement. They made this possible. They are great people and the reason I was able to win the election,&uot; he said.

&uot;I need to thank a lot of people. I had hundreds, maybe even a thousand who volunteered; they spoke for me and used word-of-mouth-type support. They’re just a great group of folks who worked hard for me.

&uot;We set out to run an honest, ethical and positive campaign, and I think the citizens (of Shelby County) were appreciative of that,&uot; Curry said.

Christian was brief in his comments.

&uot;This is my county and I love it … that’s why I was running. We made a good race, and we did all that we could. The people made their choice. I wish Chris Curry well,&uot; Christian said.

Doug Ballard Jr., coroner of Shelby County, also had an easy win.

Ballard was appointed by Gov. Don Seigelman to replace Steven Pustilnik, former coroner, who resigned from the position last year.

He defeated Valerie Pate and James Wagner for the coroner position.

&uot;So far, this is the only political campaign I’ve been in. I told people the only promise I’m going to make is to not make any promises,&uot; he said.

Ballard thanked his wife, Nancy, and his family for their support. He also thanked local law enforcement.

&uot;It was pretty much all of the law enforcement community behind me &045; if not for them, we wouldn’t have entered the race, but they wanted me to continue. I wasn’t even anticipating running,&uot; he said.

In the election for Shelby County School Board, Peg Hill was the winner hands down.

Hill is the retired principal of Elvin Hill Elementary School.

She received 56 percent of the vote.

Her opponents, Donna Morris and Earl Vandigrifft received 21 and 15, respectively.

Hill could not be reached for comment.

For the local state and house races, one was a nailbiter.

For the GOP State Senate District 15 race, Mountain Brook resident and current state Sen. Steve French defeated Trussville resident and former state Sen. John Amari in a hotly contested race in which hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent on the campaigns.

French said he won on the issues.

&uot;I think the campaign actually focused on issues. The records of the candidates gave the voters a chance to vote an informed ballot. I was pleased that not only did I win the race, but carried Shelby County in the process,&uot; French said.

French received 53 percent of the votes in Shelby County while Amari received only 47 percent.

French said he carried both the Shelby County and Jefferson County portions of his district.

And of that he said, &uot;It is something I’m proud of.&uot;

Amari would not comment explaining he felt the race was too close to call.

Other races Shelby County voters were exposed to yesterday included:

* Cam Ward was elected to represent District 49 for the GOP.

* Jim Carns was elected to represent District 48 for the GOP.

* Mike Hill was elected to represent

District 41 for the GOP.

* Marilyn Quarles was elected to represent Dist 50 for the Democrats