It was the night that Anthony Dove had been waiting for.
But even he couldn’t have envisioned that the end of the campaign trail would look like this.
Dove routed incumbent Wesley Nash in the winner-take-all Republican primary for the Madison County commission chairman’s seat by a vast 2,508-657 margin, garnering 72 percent of the vote.
“I tell you, right now, I’m just humbled by the honor that the citizens of Madison County have put on me,” Dove said in between congratulatory hugs with loved ones. “I also respect the responsibility that they’ve given me.”
A third candidate, Bill Usry, received 308 votes.
Dove will be unopposed in the November general election.
Dove’s resounding win ends the 12-year-long political reign of Nash in the county’s highest office. The often-controversial Nash, elected to office in 1996, earned only 19 percent of the vote.
Dove will be sworn-in in January to head a commission with at least one new member. He said it’s time to put divisive politics aside.
“It’s time to change this county’s outlook and start working together,” Dove said. “And I think that’s what we’ve done tonight. This is the first step.”
On that note, he added that it’s time for people in the county to “start building each other up instead of putting each other down.”
Dove jumped out to a quick lead over Nash, garnering a 680-162 advantage after early ballots were totaled. As the night moved on, Dove’s surprising lead swelled.
After his landslide victory was official, Dove addressed the crowd that had gathered at his campaign headquarters at the Masonic Lodge No. 348 in Danielsville. Onlookers included Nash’s political rivals Mike Youngblood, John Pethel and Stanley Thomas.
With the Star Spangled Banner audible in the background, Dove delivered an emotional victory speech. With his voice cracking at times, Dove expressed his gratitude. He even managed to interject a little humor.
“Most of all, I thank my wife, because she had the most to lose out of this,” he said to laughs.
I wish the very best for Mr Dove. I have voted against Mr Nash every chance to get him out of office. I am so happy that the people of Madison County have decided it was his time to go. Thank God he can not harm the county any longer.