Commonwealth’s Attorney Herbie McKee said Tuesday’s election results show how much voters approve of the work he is doing as the county’s top prosecutor.
McKee, with 7,921 votes, easily defeated challenger Bobby Norris, who tallied 4,522 votes.
“I’m very happy to see a resounding message by the voters of Henderson County that they want to keep McKee as the county’s felony prosecutor,” he said.
He attributed the victory to the work he’s done since being appointed to the office on Sept. 1, 2022. After former Commonwealth’s Attorney Bill Markwell retired, he took over the position until the next general election. With his victory, McKee won the one year remaining in Markwell’s unexpired term. He’ll be up for re-election next fall.
“I plan to hit the ground running tomorrow,” he said Tuesday night in the Fiscal Court chambers where he was watching elections results come in. “We’re going to do the job we were voted in to do.”
He said his stances on tough sentences for offenders of violent crimes and long-term treatment options for first-time drug offenders resonated with voters he spoke to on the campaign trail.
McKee, a Democrat, also said that he didn’t worry much about voters casting straight Republican ballots, which some local observers say swayed past local elections.
“I believe Henderson County is a lot less partisan than other parts of the country,” McKee said. “We communicate and talk.”
Norris, meanwhile, was nothing short of bewildered by the results, saying he thought the results would be much closer. This year’s outcome, including the gubernatorial results in the county, are an anomaly of the past two or three election cycles, Norris said.
“I don’t know what to attribute the numbers to,” he said.
Norris is not sure if he’ll run again for the seat in the next election cycle, saying it’s “way too early to tell.” He added that he’s going to give it some thought in the next couple weeks to determine if he wants to try again.
Whitt wins by 400-plus
Nick Whitt beat Dwight Williams in the Henderson City Commission race, a victory that allows him to serve the remaining year of a vacated seat.
Whitt pulled in 3,131 votes to Williams’ 2,719.
Whitt said the victory caps a wild first year in city politics.
“It’s been a roller coaster of a year, to put it mildly,” he said.
With the victory, Whitt claims the second year of the City Commission seat in which he had served the past year.
In the 2022 election, another candidate, Jay Randolph, captured enough votes to claim one of the four seats on the Board of Commissioners. Randolph resigned before his term began and Whitt, as the fifth-place finisher in that election, was appointed to fill the vacancy until the next election could fill the seat.
He said during his campaign he walked miles and miles—including one day when he logged 12—knocking on doors and talking to people. He credited that as one of the differences in the race.
He said most of the people he talked to aligned with tenets he stands for: being open, honest and transparent in government dealings, and involved in the community. Whitt also said many want to see change in the way local government is run and trust him. He said he was “grateful for the vote of confidence” and for the opportunity to make a difference with another year in office.
Williams, meanwhile, said he was disappointed with the results. He said he’d felt good about his possibilities running up to election day.
“I felt good about the election,” he said.
He said he is already considering running again next year, when four seats of the commission will be up for grabs.
“I’m leaning toward (running), but my wife might have different thoughts,” Williams said.
Abner pleased with the election, just shy of 37% show up
Henderson County Clerk Renesa Abner indicated the 36.98 voter turnout was good, and she said election day went smoothly at all polling locations.
There were two new polling locations this year—the Presbyterian Church on Main Street and Jefferson Elementary School.
She said deputy clerks at all polling locations on election day reported steady foot traffic. The Chase Fulcher Archery Center was the busiest, she said.
She said numerous people commented that they preferred the voting methods now in place, which allows for mail-in voting, three days of early voting and election day voting.
Abner said there were no reports of any violations or any incidents at any of the polling locations, which was supported by Henderson County Sheriff Chip Stauffer.
“Everything was smooth,” Stauffer said. “The way we like it.”
Below see local vote tallies of state races. (Courtesy Henderson County Clerk’s office)