by Walker County News Today staff
The Walker County Hospital District‘s Board of Managers convened for a special session at noon on Wednesday to canvass the November 7th election results. While the meeting itself is routine after any election, this meeting signaled change for this elected body which will consist of only one veteran member after Robert (Bob) Hardy’s defeat earlier this month. None of the remaining four members will have more than two years service on the District Board once Hardy’s replacement is sworn in.
The District’s five Managers are all elected on an at-large basis. Two of the seats were up for grabs this election; the other three seats will be on next year’s ballot. Voters are able to vote for two or three candidates depending on how many seats are up for election during a particular election year.
Political newcomer Dr. David Toronjo swept the county, winning all but two precincts. Incumbent Judy Emmett tied with Toronjo in a single precinct and incumbent Robert Hardy won in one precinct. First-time candidate Dr. Karl Mahaffey was third overall in total votes, finishing less than 200 votes behind Emmett. Former Huntsville City Councilman Don Johnson finished in 5th place with just over 9% of the vote.
The final election returns canvassed at Wednesday’s meeting include totals from early voting, election day voting, mail-in ballots, and provisional ballots. The totals included in the canvass, in ballot order:
|Robert Karl Mahaffey||1,278||20.08%|
|Robert R Hardy||994||15.62%|
|W David Toronjo||2,042||32.08%|
Hardy, who joined the board in the 1975, had served as Chairman of the District Board for more than 20 years. Hardy remained on the board after the 2016 election, but was replaced as Chair by the newly elected Anne Woodard. With this month’s election result only board member Jerry Larrison will have more than 2 years experience as a member of the board. Current Board Chair Anne Woodard and Vice-Chair Dr. Curtis Montgomery were both elected to the board in 2016. Emmett was first elected to her seat in 2015.
The District has not yet announced when Toronjo and Emmett will be sworn in.