ONLEY, VA (WAVY) — In a time of heavy partisan politics, those involved in a close race on Virginia’s eastern shore are hoping to set an example in civility.
On Wednesday, the final results in the race for Mayor of Onley showed that Matthew Hart had 110 votes, and W.R. “Bill” Ferguson had 109, according to the Accomack County Registrar’s Office. The race had been decided by one vote.
“I expected it to be close, I really did,” said Ferguson on Wednesday. “Didn’t expect it to be this close.”
“I was shocked when I saw I had a one vote win,” said Hart.
Hart, who currently serves on the town’s council said on Wednesday that everyone knows everyone in Onley. There are only 359 registered voters, according to the latest data from the Department of Elections.
Ferguson, who had previously served as a town councilman and vice mayor, said he and his opponent discussed early on that the campaign would be clean despite their differences.
“He is a great guy and good friend,” Hart said. “We could’ve slung mud, but I feel like when you’re a leader, people don’t want you to sling mud.”
While candidates in other close races in Hampton Roads are considering requests for a recount, Ferguson said he doesn’t plan to. Rather he wants to use it as an opportunity to set an example.
“Maybe we can shed some positive light on politics instead of the negative things everyone is having crammed down their throats now,” Ferguson said. “Not for ourselves, but for our country. There may be a better way to do something.”