Holt files for recount in Johnston Co. sheriff primary runoff

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After losing the primary runoff by a handful of votes, Democratic Johnston County Sheriff candidate Sam Holt filed papers this morning calling for a recount in the election.

"I felt like with the nine votes separating the two candidates and with the irregularities, I owed it to my supporters," he said. "We worked awful hard to get to this point to just throw in the towel now."

Holt also filed papers alleging an irregularities contest, which means some illegitimate votes might have been counted. Specifically, he cited Raymond L. Grant, who voted absentee on Monday, and again in person Tuesday, according to court records.

"For me, I'm looking at it 'hey if I lose, if I get beat, I get beat,'" he said. "But I just want to make sure that I didn't get cheated."

A hearing is set for next Wednesday at the Johnston County courthouse. The first hearing is to recount the vote. The second hearing will determine if any wrong-doing or illegal voting took place.

Smith, the current winner of the primary runoff, said if Holt wants a recount, he has the right to call for one.

"I have no animosity at all," he said. "I just really am quite sorry that a lot of things that's taken place in this election has, and it's become what it has."

Neither the presiding judge nor county elections board would comment on the proceedings. But it's possible they could hold a new election.

"I would hate to see another election because of the cost to the citizens," Holt said. "But still I would like to think that the right thing had been done."

Smith said he's not shying away from another election.

"We'll go through that again, I'm ready for it," he said. "It's been a long enduring trail this far. We're here today, and It looks like it's gonna continue a little further, so we're ready for it."

Holt said he isn't accusing Smith or individual voters of cheating. He said he just wants to make sure the election stays fair for the voters. The winner of the primary runoff faces Ray Dickerson, who ran unopposed as the Republican candidate.

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