Superintendent candidates prepare for close runoff

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A close race for the position of Shelby County Superintendent of Schools was extended on June 6, with candidates Tom Ferguson and Randy Fuller set to square off in a July 18 runoff.

Neither candidate was able to earn 51 percent of the vote needed in the primary election to declare a win, with Ferguson earning 8,815 votes for 35 percent and Fuller garnering 9,742 votes for 39 percent of the total ballots.

Gary Minnick finished third in the balloting with 6,465 votes, good for 26 percent of the total count.

Ferguson and Fuller both remained optimistic about their chances going into next month&8217;s runoff.

&8220;We were very excited on election night,&8221; Fuller said. &8220;Obviously, having the larger number of votes felt good. We&8217;ve ran a good campaign, and it&8217;s apparent that we&8217;re the peoples&8217; choice in this race.&8221;

Ferguson said he was happy with the primary turnout, despite finishing second in the balloting.

&8220;The voting was a very positive message to me,&8221; he said. &8220;I felt very good in what I saw in the community and feel confident going into the runoff.&8221;

Both candidates admitted that they have a lot of work to do in the coming weeks, especially when it came to reaching a large pool of voters who cast their ballots for Minnick in the primary.

Minnick had not endorsed either candidate at press time.

&8220;Over the months of the campaign I listened intently to what the other candidates had to say,&8221; Ferguson said. &8220;There are a number of similarities in my message with that of Gary Minnick.&8221;

Fuller also pointed out the need to reach out to Minnick supporters.

&8220;I&8217;m definitely going to talk to those people and reach out to them,&8221; Fuller said. &8220;A number of my platforms parallel those of Mr. Minnick. I still want to touch as many citizens of Shelby County as possible.&8221;

Both candidates touched on the importance of making sure voters return to the polls on July 18.

&8220;It&8217;s important that everyone comes out and votes,&8221; Fuller said.

&8220;We need to make sure people understand that there&8217;s a runoff,&8221; Ferguson said