ELLERBE — By the time the carillon at a neighboring church began sending the notes of “For the Beauty of the Earth” into the new night sky, 115 people had voted at Ellerbe Town Hall. Only nine more appeared during the dinner hour.
The sparse turnout Thursday was “probably about par when you just have town council” elections, said polling judge Debra Quick. Ellerbe Mayor Lee Berry ran unopposed.
Of the five candidates running for three open town council seats, incumbents Jean Fletcher and Archie Robinson won, with 103 and 83 votes, respectively. Sixty one-year-old Fred Cloninger snared 82 votes to replace one-term incumbent Corey Brewington, 42.
Cloninger grew up in Ellerbe and moved from Rockingham and back into the family home last year, after the death of his father.
Fletcher, 57, credited community involvement for her win. She has lived in Ellerbe her entire life and has, among other things, organized the town’s Hometown Christmas celebration.
“It’s good to be back in again,” she said Tuesday night. She was saddened by Brewington’s loss, she said, but predicted she and Cloninger were “going to work good together as a team (because) Freddie has a lot of ideas.”
Cloninger said he hoped that as a town council member, he could “get in there and help out and do what I can to make Ellerbe as good as it can possibly be.”
Brewington was not philosophical nor disappointed about his loss.
“It is what it is,” he said — elections show whom the voters want.
“I’ll never stop doing what I’m doing,” he said. “I’ll still play a major role and still be there as much as I can.”
Robinson could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.
Fifth town council candidate Lee Freeman, 67, snared 24 votes Tuesday, losing a second bid to hold a council seat alongside his wife, Elsie.
Reach Christine Carroll at 910-817-2673.