11/07/07 — Headen wins race for District 1 seat by just two votes

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Headen wins race for District 1 seat by just two votes

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on November 7, 2007 1:47 PM

Two votes separate the candidates in Goldsboro City Council's District 1 race.

And although Michael Headen is unofficially the winner who will replace Jimmy Bryan on council next year, he said he will not officially declare himself so until the last provisional vote has been counted.

Election officials say they do not expect the provisional votes to affect the outcome of the race in which Headen defeated Frankie Anna Lewis 159 to 157.

"I feel very good about the outcome," Headen said.

The candidates exchanged the lead only once, with Mrs. Lewis pulling ahead of Headen 86 to 65 a little more than an hour after the polls closed.

Both camps kept a close eye on the numbers as Headen struggled to hold on to the lead to win the council post.

But he wasn't ready to jump for joy, yet.

He wants to make sure his name, and the numbers, stick, and then he will figure out what his next steps will be as Goldsboro's newest city council member.

"I would rather not get into specifics until its official," he said. "I feel that it's still premature to comment on what I would do."

He praised his opponent.

"We ran a fair campaign," he said. "We avoided all the ugliness."

Mrs. Lewis is still waiting, too.

"We're just waiting to find out what's going to happen," she said. "We're just waiting for the official announcement."

She said she knew the race was going to be a close one.

"We felt that District 1 was where the action was going to be, and we were right," she said.

Either way, she agrees with Headen that both candidates ran positive campaigns -- and no matter what the outcome, she still respects her competitor.

"I think he's a fine man," she said. "I admire him very much."

There was one write-in vote for District 1, but election officials did not have the name of the write-in candidate at presstime.

Provisional votes still need to be counted, too, election officials said, and that will happen at 8 a.m. Monday. Provisional votes are those ballots that were cast either at the wrong precinct or by voters whose names could not be found on the registered rolls. There were less than 10 throughout the county.

Wayne County Board of Elections Interim Director Erin Burridge said she doesn't believe provisional votes will affect the District 1 race.

Once that process is complete, canvass will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13 to certify the results.

But even then, Mrs. Lewis has the right to request a hand-eye recount of the ballots, but she has to do so in writing by 5 p.m. on the first business day after the county canvass. She is able to request the recount because her margin of defeat was less than 1 percent.

As of now, Mrs. Lewis hasn't requested the recount, though, and until then, Headen is in.