Republican Larry Phillips, who completed the Board of Commissioners term vacated by the death of Commissioner Garry Scearce, has won a full term on the board.
County voters elected Phillips, 53, pastor of Midway Baptist Church, with 16,534 votes, or 60.4 percent, putting him on top of challenger and political newcomer John Collins, a Democrat.
Collins received 10,837 votes, which he said indicated strong support for his first campaign.
Contacted Tuesday night, Phillips said he hopes his victory is also a victory for the people of Surry County.
“I’d just like to say thank you to the people who voted for me,” he said. “This is for them. My feeling is this isn’t about a person or a political party, it’s about the people. All the people.”
Phillips said he had several Democrats and Independents approach him and tell him they voted for him.
“I’d especially like to thank them,” he said. “I wanted this to be a win for the people and I intend on serving the people. I know it sounds corny, but I took an oath when I came into office, and I take that oath seriously.
“I want to serve the people of the county in this office, and if I serve them well and serve the office well, I will have accomplished my goal.”
Phillips said he’d like to thank Collins, a man he described as a friend.
“I think he ran a good, clean campaign, and during this campaign we became friends,” he said. “I hope out of this has come a good friendship that will last for years to come.”
Collins said he is grateful for all the support he received while running for office.
“I really appreciate the confidence of the people who voted for me and helped me during the campaign,” he said. “It was a new experience for me, and I really appreciate them.
“I didn’t come out the victor, but I was ready and willing to serve the people of Surry County,” Collins added. “But that was not to be, so I just want to congratulate Mr. Phillips and wish him the best.
Collins said he wasn’t sure about a political future.
“It’s a little early to tell whether I’ll be running for office again,” he said. “We’ll see as time goes on.”
Reach Keith Strange at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.