With approximately 53 percent of the votes cast in a higher than usual voter turnout, Curtis Brame was elected the next sheriff of Vance County Tuesday evening.
Brame, a Democratic candidate who ran against Melissa Elliott and Billy Gooch in the May primary, faced Republican Charles Pulley and unaffiliated candidate Allen Simmons in the general election. Final poll results indicated Brame received 7,517 votes, Pulley received 3,810 votes and Allen Simmons received 2,905 votes.
Each candidate was interviewed live on WIZS following the announcement that Brame won the election. Excerpts from those interviews are transcribed below:
Interview with CURTIS BRAME –
How are you feeling right now?
CB: “I’m great and I’m so excited! I feel good! What a night!”
“I’m with my family at my celebration gathering at Tiffany’s on Garnett St. and will report to the [Institute of Government] Chapel Hill this Sunday.”
What are you going to do first once you’re sworn in?
CB: “I’ll be a new administrator, so my focus will be on both the Sheriff’s Department and the jail.”
What is the first thing you said to your family tonight?
CB: “Yes! To God be the glory, yes!”
Did it feel like a long campaign or did it move along swiftly?
CB: “Being a Democratic candidate, it was a long campaign. I started this process back in October 2017 in preparation for the primary in May. After the primary, I took a couple of weeks off and then was right back preparing for the general election. It was a busy and continuous campaign.”
What made you decide to run for Sheriff?
CB: “Throughout my career, I came to the decision that I’d one day like to be sheriff of Vance County. I always said I would never run for sheriff as long as I was working, and if I ran it would be from a retired position.”
“In October of 2017, Sheriff Peter White told me that he was ‘going home’ and that he and his wife would support me if I ran for sheriff. In giving it to God and talking with my wife and family, that’s when I made the decision to run.”
What is your message for people who voted for the other candidates?
CB: “Whatever differences we have as candidates, we need to put those aside and move forward together as a team. Whether you voted for me or not, I will serve each and every citizen of Vance County equally.”
Sheriff White was the first African-American elected sheriff of Vance County. You are now the second. Does that distinction matter to you?
CB: “Yes, it matters to me. I always took a lot of pride in being a deputy sheriff. The history of the department was previously Caucasian and male. I’m the second African-American elected sheriff and I do take pride in that.”
Are you concerned about those who criticize you for running from a retired position?
CB: “Throughout the history of the department, the only person who was allowed to stay in their position [if they ran] was the incumbent. To run, I either had to resign or be fired. So, I retired with the intentions of running.”
Interview with ALLEN SIMMONS
What is up next for Allen Simmons?
AS: “Right now, I want to take some time off, spend time with my family and see what direction God is having me go in. I don’t want to make any rushed decisions on which direction I’m going to take right now.”
Is there a possibility of you working for the Vance County Sheriff’s Department or Henderson Police Department?
AS: “Whatever I can do for Vance County. This is my home and I want what’s best for my home. I want to see my home move in a direction that’s positive for this community.”
What did you enjoy most about the campaign?
AS: “The most amazing thing I received out of this is the ability to grow even more. It has taught me to persevere through the obstacles life throws at you. Having my family, wife and kids with me gave me strength.”
Interview with CHARLES PULLEY
What is up next for Charles Pulley?
CP: “I first want to congratulate Curtis [Brame] for winning the election. It was a clean campaign. We need to support Curtis 100% in this county; there are a lot of things that need to be done.”
“I also appreciate the people who came out and voted for me.”
Will we see Charles Pulley again in future political races?
CP: “You never know what the future holds – I’ll just leave it at that.”
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