Blackwood: “Tremendous Sense of Urgency” In Sheriff Runoff Race

By Elizabeth Friend Posted July 8, 2014 at 2:06 pm

With a second primary less than a week away, Orange County Sheriff candidate Charles Blackwood said he’s worried about low voter turnout.

Charles Blackwood

Charles Blackwood

“We had a very large concern that if the numbers dropped and they weren’t proportional to the vote, we’d be beat. We’ve heard the saying all through this election that good people lose in runoffs, so it’s just a tremendous sense of urgency in this go-round.”

In May’s Democratic primary, Blackwood finished first out of six candidates seeking to be Orange County’s top lawman. He received 30 percent of the vote, but 40 percent was needed to avoid a runoff.

Second-place finisher David Caldwell requested the runoff after final totals showed he came in just 64 votes shy of taking the lead.

Now Blackwood says his strategy headed into the July 15 primary is to meet and talk with as many voters as possible.

He’s also been looking to the other four candidates for support. Since the May primary, third-place finisher and former colleague Larry Faucette has endorsed Blackwood, as has longtime incumbent Sheriff Lindy Pendergrass. For a list of all of Blackwood’s endorsements, click here.

Orange County voters cast slightly more than 5, 700 ballots in the early voting period leading up to the May primary. Though turnout is expected to be substantially lower for the second primary, Blackwood says he’s encouraged that approximately 500 people have cast a ballot so far.

“You know, I’m in it for the Super Bowl, not for one game,” says Blackwood. “You have to look at the early voting every day as a game. You win each of those games every day and then you win the Super Bowl.

With no Republican candidates running in November, next week’s primary will likely decide the race. Early voting runs through July 12 at the Board of Elections office in Hillsborough.

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