BERLIN – With more votes counted this week, incumbent Worcester County Commissioner Virgil Shockley (D) seems to have finally defeated challenger Ted Elder (R).
“It was a long race,” said Shockley. “I’m glad it only happens every four years.”
Shockley, who defeated Elder by a wide margin in the 2006 election, found himself almost dead even with Elder after last week’s voting. The polls closed with Shockley maintaining less than a 100-vote lead with enough absentee ballads still in circulation to completely eliminate that margin as of last week.
However, as of yesterday morning, nearly all of the ballots in District 4 had been collected, revealing Shockley at 1,268 votes and Elder at 1,177, or 51 percent to 48 percent. While there were still ballots out as of Thursday, the 91-vote lead was significant enough that Shockley was unofficially assured victory.
When asked how he felt now that the race was all but wrapped up, Shockley said that he hadn’t let the close election interfere with the rest of his life and expressed surprise at hearing the updated numbers.
Despite the good news, Shockley said he still wasn’t pleased with the election season this year.
“It was long. Too many people said too many mean things,” he said. “Honestly, I’m disgusted with the negative campaigning at the county, state and federal levels.”
Shockley said that he, “ran on my record,” and tried to avoid becoming entangled in the name calling and finger pointing.
“I didn’t say a negative thing about my opponent,” he said pointing out, in his opinion, 90 percent of people who use negative campaigning end up losing anyway.
As difficult as the election was, Shockley is determined not to let it affect him as a commissioner.
“If I had my way, I’d change things, but I’m not going to Washington,” he said. “They probably wouldn’t want me there anyways.”
Shockley went on to say that he was looking forward to the next four years and would continue to do the best job he was capable of as a commissioner.
“We’ll deal with the money we have and spend it wisely,” he said.
Shockley assured residents he will continue to keep an open mind and will not go into public hearings with his decision already made.
“And I don’t make up my mind before I go into a hearing,” said Shockley.