Kilgore and challengers Scott Brooks and Tim McAfee were the central race on Saturday’s “firehouse” primary ballot at the Norton Community Center. In unofficial tallies after polls closed, Kilgore got 785 votes to Brooks’ 447 and McAfee’s 112.
In the other race on the primary ballot, incumbent District Three Supervisor J.H. Rivers received 166 votes to challenger David Cox’s 88.
Turnout reached 1,365 voters, according to Wise County and Norton Republican Party chairman Kim Mullins. Through much of the day, a sidewalk line of about 160 people remained full as voters filled the community center’s parking lot as well as the adjacent lot for Norton Elementary and Middle School.
Despite a 2 p.m. poll closing time, approximately 160 people were still in line and the final vote was cast shortly after 3 p.m.
“We were very pleasantly surprised,” Mullins said of the day’s turnout. “I personally expected about a thousand voters, but today’s turnout goes to the quality of our candidates.”
Results will be certified by June 11 for placement on the county’s November general election ballot.
“I was shocked at the turnout and thankful for everyone who came out to support me,” Kilgore said. “I had a great group of people helping me and it showed.”
Kilgore also credited Sheriff Ronnie Oakes for his support.
“He’s a great man and, even if he wasn’t sheriff, he’s a great man,” Kilgore said. “You won’t find people any better than him.”
“I was pleased with the turnout and the results,” Rivers said. “I appreciate all the people who turned out and voted, and I intend to run a positive campaign.”
Kilgore and Brooks remained visible throughout the day as they greeted voters entering the community center, and their campaign signs lined the parking lot entrance. McAfee had no visible signs in the area but was seen for short periods near the polls.
Rivers and Cox also stayed accessible to voters during the day.
Oakes, who announced his January 2020 retirement and his endorsement of Kilgore, also spent much of the day campaigning in a Kilgore for Sheriff T-shirt.
While the primary ballot was only for sheriff and District Three supervisor candidates, Commonwealth’s Attorney Chuck Slemp also campaigned as the unopposed Republican for the November election.
Voters also got a taste of political history as former 40th District state Sen. William Wampler Jr. campaigned for his son Will’s run for the 4th District state delegate seat being vacated by incumbent Todd Pillion. Pillion will be running for retiring 40th district Sen. Bill Carrico’s seat, held previously by William Wampler Jr.