DOBSON — The Surry County Board of Commissioners will have at least one new face in 2017.
Local businessman Larry Johnson, 63, of Greystone Lane in Mount Airy, ended Tuesday night on top of a field of five vying for a Mount Airy District seat on the board.
According to unofficial election results, Johnson walked away with 2,804 votes, 32 percent of the 8,656 votes cast in Tuesday’s Republican primary for the office.
If not for legislation passed in February, the top two finishers would have been set for a runoff election. However, state legislators threw out the process as part of legislation to redraw congressional districts in the state.
With no Democrat in the race, Johnson is all but officially a commissioner, and he will unseat long-time Commissioner Jimmy Miller.
Miller was vying for his eighth term on the board.
Miller joked he couldn’t remember the last and only time he lost an election in the 1980s.
“I feel they made a good choice, and I’m looking forward to seeing how he does,” said Miller. “I really appreciate the votes in years past and the opportunity to serve as a commissioner.”
Johnson said he was “thrilled” to have the opportunity to serve the residents of Surry County.
“I guess I had the winning team — the Lord, my wife and my family,” remarked Johnson after learning he would fill the seat.
After explaining he and his family had been electioneering all day, Johnson said, “We had enough energy to yell for about 30 seconds.”
The founder of Johnson Granite said he had no real agenda or first order of business upon entering office.
“I’m just ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work for the people of Surry County,” concluded Johnson.
School administrator Bill Goins finished second in the race with almost 28 percent of the vote. He was followed by Van Cooke with about 18 percent, Miller with a little more than 15 percent and Allen Poindexter with six percent of the vote.
Van Tucker, 61, of Shoals, won his Republican primary race against former Commissioner Paul Johnson. Johnson was no longer eligible to hold office after he pleaded guilty to four felonies associated with him fraudulently filing county travel vouchers.
Johnson, whose name could not be removed from the ballot when he resigned, still managed to pick up 27 percent of the vote in Surry County.
Other candidates saw no opposition in the primary.
Tucker’s opponent, Ronald Bowman, 64, of Pilot Mountain was among those with no primary opposition. Having gained the nod of the Democrat Party by default, he will square off against Tucker in November. If he were to win, Bowman would represent a second new face on the board.
Democrat Register of Deeds Carolyn Comer, 59, ran unopposed in the primary election. She will also run unopposed in the November general election and garner a fourth term in office.
Clark Goings and Brian Moser earned additional terms on the Surry County Schools School Board by way of their unopposed elections Tuesday.
Board of Elections Director Susan Jarrell said 160 provisional ballots and some curbside ballots would still need to be counted in the hours and days after the initial results from the county’s precincts were available.
However, the total number of votes could not be enough to swing the vote away from Larry Johnson.
Andy is a staff writer and can be reached at 415-4698.