County Commission District 4 race headed to runoff, Hayes wins re-election (updated)

Published 11:30 pm Tuesday, March 1, 2016


COLUMBIANA – The Shelby County Commission District 4 race will proceed to a runoff after the March 1 Republican primary election.

As of March 1, Ron Griggs led the race with 1,508 votes, followed by Ward Williams with 1,262 votes and Gene Rowley with 1,138 votes, according to unofficial election results.

Provisional ballots will be counted on March 9 at noon and will determine which candidates are in the runoff.

The District 4 seat is currently held by outgoing Commissioner Daniel Acker Sr., who has served on the commission for 23 years.

Despite the closeness of the race, all three candidates commended each other on clean campaigns.

“I appreciate everybody coming out and voting,” Griggs said. “I’ve been extremely pleased. We felt like as a team running for a position, we tried to keep everything on a positive basis.”

Griggs said he appreciated Acker and his years of service, and said, “I look forward to whatever the future holds.”

Williams said he had “nothing but respect” for Rowley, Griggs and their families.

“Thank you everybody who voted, contributed, or volunteered to the campaign,” Williams wrote in a Facebook post on March 1. “This race is an example of every vote counting.”

Gene Rowley addressed the dozens of people who gathered with him at Chubb’s Grub Station in Alabaster to watch the election results.

“The response has been overwhelming,” Rowley said. “The time put into this campaign says a lot about who my friends are. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

In the District 9 race, incumbent Dr. Robbie Hayes defeated Chris Dunn with 3,484 votes compared to Dunn’s 2,311 votes.

Hayes, who has served more than 10 years on the Commission, said he thought his campaign went well, and he looks to “continue the work we have been doing now the last several years” and is “looking forward to continuing to push the county forward in the right direction.”

Hayes has been a county resident for 42 years. He attended Pelham High School and received a Bachelor of Science in 1984 and Doctorate of Optometry in 1988 from UAB.

He was appointed to the Commission by former Gov. Bob Riley in late 2005, and was elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012.

Hayes has served on multiple local boards and Commission positions and is the current chairman of Commission Finance.

He opened Hayes Eye Center in 1992 and has been an active volunteer in community and sports organizations for the past 25 years, including Chelsea Kiwanis and Chelsea High School athletics.

Hayes is married to Kimila Kallenbach Hayes and has three children, P.J. (UAB student), Tiffany (University of Alabama student) and Will (Chelsea High School student).

“I’m just very thankful to the folks that came out and voted, and happy we got through the election almost before the weather got bad,” Hayes said. “I hope everybody was safe at the polls.”

Dunn congratulated Hayes on winning the race and expressed gratitude to those who voted for him.

“I would like to issue a congratulations to my opponent and thanks to all who supported me throughout this election,” Dunn said on March 2. “The support was overwhelming.”

The other seven commissioners – Corley Ellis, Tommy Edwards, Jon Parker, Elwyn Bearden, Mike Vest, Lindsey Allison and Rick Shepherd – ran unopposed in this year’s primary election.

The runoff for the Shelby County Commission District 4 seat will be held April 12. The general election is set for Nov. 8.