Steve Yuhasz, a land surveyor from Hillsborough, will be the next Orange County Commissioner from the newly created District 2. Yuhasz won the election with nearly 56 percent of the votes on Tuesday, in an election where only 5 percent of eligible voters in the county participated.
His rival, Leo L. Allison, a retired IBM employee from Efland, won 44 percent of the total. The difference between the candidates was 303 votes.
No Republican has filed to oppose Yuhasz in November, so the race is decided.
"I'm very satisfied and pleased we won," Yuhasz said Wednesday. "I plan to take a couple of weeks off—I've been campaigning since the first of March and that's been a little bit of an effort—then I'm going to study county government. I've got five or six months until I'm sworn in, and I'm going to try to get myself up to speed so that when I take my seat on the board, I'll be ready to go."
Yuhasz served on the county planning board for six years and the economic development commission for three. He said his biggest concerns are expanding the county's commercial tax base "to relieve the homeowners of their tax burden" and working on the implementation of the comprehensive plan. (For more information about Yuhasz's views, read his Independent candidate questionnaire.)
Allison requested a runoff in May. He had the option to do so because a 40 percent plurality was required to win in the newly created district that covers the area north of Chapel Hill and Carrboro. Yuhasz was the top-vote getter in the four-way primary, with 37 percent of ballots cast.
Several precincts in Orange County reported less than 1 percent voter turnout in Tuesday's election. At one precinct in Chapel Hill, where voters were not eligible to cast ballots in the District 2 commissioners race, only 13 votes were cast.
"It's pretty much what we were anticipating," Orange County Board of Elections Director Tracy Reams said of the turnout. "It's about average for our second primary."
The election cost the county between $75,000 and $78,000. Even if Allison had not requested a runoff, a second primary election would have been held in Orange County to decide the race for Democratic candidate for labor commissioner.