Acree reelected; McCarty, Rountree win IW supervisor races

Published 10:39 pm Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Two familiar faces will return to Isle of Wight County’s Board of Supervisors next year.

William McCarty was reelected to the Carrollton-centric District 2 supervisor seat, with 60% of more than 3,000 votes to challenger Tracy Hendrix’s 40%, according to unofficial election results.

Joel Acree, who ran unopposed for reelection to the Windsor-centric District 4 seat, received just over 97% of more than 2,600 votes, with just under 3% going to write-in candidates.

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The vote totals include early in-person voting, mailed absentee ballots and election day votes but not provisional ballots.

“It’s an honor to continue to serve,” McCarty said. “Not everyone always sees eye to eye on everything, but we learn from one another and we grow forward together.”

McCarty also thanked Hendrix for running a clean campaign. Hendrix did not immediately respond to The Smithfield Times’ request for comments.

Write-in candidate Chris Torre came up short in his last-minute bid for the Smithfield-centric District 1 seat. Renee Rountree, who was the only candidate to file by the June 20 deadline to get her name on the ballot, received just under 60% of more than 3,000 votes. Just over 40% went to write-in candidates though Isle of Wight County’s Registrar’s Office has not yet said whether votes for Torre account for a majority of the write-ins.

Rountree issued the following statement at 10:14 p.m. on Nov. 7:

In January I began collecting signatures on a petition to run for Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to explain my decisions as an elected official of the Town of Smithfield, communicate my vision and campaign for this office at the County level.  Today our citizens have spoken, and I am very pleased to have gotten so many votes. To those who did not support me, I ask that you give me a chance to listen to you, so we can work together to continue to make our community amazing. It is my hope that we can come together as a community to form relationships and open lines of communication to benefit our Town and County in the future. I will serve our Citizens faithfully and pray that God leads me to good decisions and service. Thank you to my family, friends, supporters and all the voters who voted today! Now the work begins.”

“I am sorry I lost, I feel really bad for my campaign team, they worked so hard and did so much in very little time, and I feel bad for my supporters, too,  but the voters had a distinct choice between me and my opponent and they chose her, by a big margin, so very best wishes to her for great success in her new job,” Torre said.

According to Registrar Lisa Betterton, registrars are required only to report the total number of write-ins on election night, and not necessarily go through them to identify specific write-in candidates.

Torre announced his write-in bid on Sept. 19. Prior to that, he’d been an organizer of opposition to the Grange at 10Main mixed-use community developer Joseph Luter IV has proposed for the west edge of Smithfield’s historic district – a project Rountree says she supports.

The unofficially contested race drew attention in October when Rountree, a sitting member of Smithfield’s Town Council, was charged in connection with the theft of some of Torre’s campaign signs.

A week after Torre’s announcement, a number of yard signs supporting him could be seen throughout the town. When some of his signs started going missing, Torre’s campaign volunteers placed AirTags, a tracking device made by Apple, inside some of the replacements in hopes of catching the culprit, and provided the tracking data to police, who said they had located two of the missing signs in the crawlspace beneath Rountree’s home.

Rountree, who on Oct. 13 put out a statement proclaiming her innocence, faces a charge of receiving stolen goods, while her son-in-law, Blacksburg resident Jesse Hanson, faces a charge of larceny stemming from a surveillance video police say showed a man remove a Torre sign on North Church Street. Both charges are Class 1 misdemeanors, punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and/or up to a year in jail.

Isle of Wight County Registrar Lisa Betterton said early in-person voting, which was available from Sept. 22 through Nov. 4, accounted for 3,746 ballots countywide, or just under 12% of the county’s 31,239 registered voters. Absentee ballots accounted for 1,302 votes, or just over 4%, of the countywide total. 

Absentee ballots, early voting and election day ballots collectively accounted for just over 66% of the county’s registered voters, indicating that more than 10,000 voters or ⅓ of those registered either didn’t cast a ballot or it hadn’t arrived at the Registrar’s Office by election day.  

Betterton told the Times on Nov. 6 that just over 650 mail-in ballots voters requested hadn’t been returned to her office by that date, citing U.S. Postal Service delays.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 3:03 p.m. on Nov. 8 with the latest vote totals and comments from candidates.