UNION — For the first time in 136 years, a Republican has been elected to county office in Union County.
In 1876, Charles Bolt, a resident of Santuc, was elected probate judge. Two years later, Bolt was defeated for reelection, becoming the last Republican to hold elective office in Union County. In 1879, Bolt became the last Republican to hold appointive office in Union County when he resigned as clerk of court.
The last, that is, until 2007 when Freddie Gault was appointed clerk of court, becoming the first Republican appointed to local office since Bolt.
On Tuesday, Gault made history again when he became the first Republican to elected to county office since 1876.
Unofficial results from Tuesday’s election show Gault winning a full term as clerk of court with 5,854 votes to 5,528 votes for petition candidate Melanie Lawson.
Lawson, who has been with the clerk of court’s office for 20 years and currently serves as Family Court Clerk, initially challenged Gault as a Democrat, but her campaign came to a temporary halt as a result of a decision by the State Supreme Court.
In May, the court ruled that all candidates must provide their parties with paper copies of their statements of economic interest even if they had been filed electronically. The court’s decision resulted in the removal of hundreds of candidates across the state from the June 12 primary and Tuesday’s general election ballots. The candidates removed from the ballot included 10 of the 17 candidates running in Union County.
The candidates removed from the ballot in Union County included Lawson who nevertheless was able to regain her spot on the ballot as a petition candidate.
“It was a good race,” Lawson said. “I wish Mr. Gault well and will continue to support him.”
Gault thanked the public and his family and friends for their support and said he is looking forward to continuing as clerk of court.
“I want to say thank you to everyone in Union County,” Gault said Tuesday evening. “I wish I could have got out more and worked but I had a job to do being in the courthouse and making sure the court ran smoothly. I just want to thank my family and friends that have helped me through this process. I look forward to coming in tomorrow morning and continuing to work as Union County’s Clerk of Court.”