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Commission races turn out to be ‘business as usual’

Crenshaw County commissioners will not be throwing any going-away parties after each incumbent won another term in Tuesday’s general election.

“It’s just business as usual,” said District five Commissioner Charlie Sankey Jr. after the final results were in Tuesday night.

Though officially uncontested, Sankey’s race was one that was watched closely. Last Friday, fellow Democrat LaFreda Griffin rejoined the race as Crenshaw County’s first official write-in candidate.

“I am doing this because I feel like I owe the people who supported me,” she said. “I want them to know that they have someone who wants to work with them and for them.”

The Highland Home resident lost to Sankey by one vote during the primary election. In Tuesday’s election, 214 write-in votes opposed Sankey. In district two, incumbent Michelle Stephens ran unopposed. She earned 562 votes and there were seven write-ins.

History was made in another commission race. Ricky McElwain became the first Republican candidate to win a commission seat. McElwain, who currently serves as chair of the commission, ran as a Democrat in his first three terms as commissioner of district one.

“I’ve always run as a Democrat. But, I just felt like I could do a better job supporting my district and the county as a Republican,” McElwain said after the election.

If Crenshaw County is ever in need, McElwain said he could call on Republicans for help at the state level. He cited Republican Governor Robert Bentley as an example.

Merrill Sport kept his district three seat with 609 votes to William Tate’s 499.

Chris West ran against two candidates for district four. With 427 votes, he won the support of 48 percent of those who cast a vote in his district. West’s closest contender was Republican Ronnie Hudson with 374 votes. Independent Darryl Elliott took 88 votes.

“I just want to thank everybody that voted for me,” West said. “I really appreciate everybody’s support and look forward to another four years.”