Political newcomer Billie Jo Underwood of Summerdale came within 450 votes of winning without a runoff for the District 3 seat on the Baldwin County Commission.
And she did so against Tucker Dorsey, an experienced commissioner seeking his third term. Underwood tallied 48 percent of the vote in the June 5 primary and Dorsey finished with 38 percent. Will McDaniel finished a distant third.
“I feel honored that the people of Baldwin County came out and voted for me, enabling me to be in the runoff,” Underwood said. “Being the only district that had three candidates, I knew from the beginning that it was a possibility, but during the night of the primary, there were times when it appeared that we may win outright, but it didn’t happen.”
Dorsey can marshal his forces and begin the battle to make up ground between now and the July 17 runoff election. He received 10,566 votes to Underwood’s 13,244 in the primary.
“It’s a new race, a new day,” Dorsey said. “You kind of feel like you tied the first set and now we got another chance to go out there and play again.”
He’ll go out there armed with information on how he did in different areas of the county and which precincts to concentrate on.
“The benefit is you get to look at the voting boxes and see where you were stronger and see where you weaker,” Dorsey said. “You try to go through that data and figure out strategically how do you go make a better imprint and impact on that community of voters.”
Underwood won all but 12 of 49 precincts in the county and both the provisional and absentee boxes.
“All throughout the campaign, people have been excited about the opportunity for a change in leadership for District 3,” Underwood said. “My campaign was a true grassroots effort, and along with my family and friends, we worked very hard to get our message out to the people of Baldwin County.”
She said during the runoff her campaign will be spreading the same message and continue to work hard.
Dorsey will look to sway voters by pointing out his years of working with county citizens during his two terms. There will be at least two new members on the commission for the next term.
“Now … the message we want to put out is experience matters more now than ever,” Dorsey said. “We’ve got two new folks, and certainly Commissioner Gruber does a good job and has been around the county a long time. You’ve got to have experienced leadership to some degree.”
In District 1 Jeb Ball beat out longtime incumbent Frank Burt and Joe Davis beat John Lake to win District 2, a seat vacated by Chris Elliott, who is running for the Alabama Senate. Davis faces Democrat Amber Smith in the November general election.
As of May 30, Underwood raised $42,698 and had $4,438.83, spending a total of $38,259.17 on the campaign. Dorsey raised $90,520,317 through May 30 and had $45, 455 left, meaning he’s spent $46,161.58 on the campaign.
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