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Ex-Sheriff Pendergraph Wins Seat On Commission

Jim Pendergraph on Election Night.

Democrats held on to their majority on the Mecklenburg County Commission, but lost a seat with the defeat of incumbent Dan Murrey. Former Sheriff Jim Pendergraph, a Republican, will take his spot. Democrats now hold a 5-4 majority over Republicans. Commission Chairwoman Jennifer Roberts was the top vote-getter. She edged Pendergraph by 934 votes. Democrat Harold Cogdell took the third at-large seat. Roberts says she's pleased with the outcome considering it was a bad night for Democrats nationwide and controversial budget cuts that commissioners have made the last two years. "I'm actually pretty excited about our performance because when you look at how upset people are about losing schools and libraries. You look at how people are very worried about the economy... You look at the national mood and the turnout. I'm actually pretty happy," Roberts said. Pendergraph served 13 years as Mecklenburg County sheriff as a Democrat. Now, he hopes Republicans can exert more influence on the county commission despite still being in the minority. "I was hoping that the Republicans would be in charge of the board and I could've assured people we wouldn't have a tax increase," he said. "So we're just going to have to work together to make sure we don't put people in worse shape than they're in." Democratic commissioners Vilma Leake, George Dunlap and Dumont Clarke easily won their district races. Republican commissioners Karen Bentley, Bill James and Neil Cooksey did not have opposition.