Close may count in horseshoes and hand grenades, however, when it comes to finishing second in an election, close doesn’t do a whole lot for you.
That’s the situation Guilford County Board of Commissioners District 5 candidate Cyndy Hayworth found herself in after a very close loss to opponent Troy Lawson in the Tuesday, March 3 Republican primary. Lawson edged out a victory by getting 2,217 votes for 50.59 percent and just 52 more than Hayworth who finished with 2,165 votes for 49.41 percent.
Lawson, who’s a former chairman of the Guilford County Republican Party, finished less than a percentage point ahead of Hayworth after all the votes were counted in the District 5 battle.
Now, in November, Lawson will face off against Democrat Carly Cooke, a work at home mom and small business owner who won easily in her primary contest against Macon Sullivan, an environmental services worker for Cone Health. In that race, Cooke pulled in an impressive 88 percent of the vote to Sullivan’s 12 percent.
The tight race between Lawson and Hayworth was a function of powerful forces at play that went well beyond the candidates themselves. Current District 5 seat holder Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Jeff Phillips – who’s stepping down from that seat at the end of the year – endorsed Hayworth, who works for him at his wealth management firm. Phillips tried very hard to make Hayworth his successor.
Lawson also had strong backing. He got an endorsement from Congressman Mark Walker. Lawson also used his years as chairman of the Guilford County Republican Party to drum up support. One of the arguments he made to voters is that he had put in long hours for years helping other Republicans get elected, and he also let everyone he could find know that, until a few years ago, Hayworth wasn’t a registered Republican.
Hayworth obviously had a good deal of support as well, just not quite enough. For decades, Hayworth has been very active in the community and has devoted a great deal of her time to public service.
Phillips stated the day after the election that, even though he endorsed Hayworth, he wanted to congratulate Lawson and see him win in November.
“I’m obviously disappointed for Cyndy,” the Board of Commissioners chairman stated. “She would be a great Guilford County commissioner, but congratulations to Troy for pulling it out! Fifty-two votes is about as close as it gets, but Republican voters of District 5 have spoken and I have great respect for their decision.”
Phillips added, “The bottom line is that we have to put aside our differences and rally behind Troy to do everything necessary to get him across the finish line to victory against his Democrat opponent in November. Our absolute most important focus has to be about maintaining a Republican majority on our board. It’s not my campaign to win, but I’ll do whatever I can do to help Troy become our next District 5 commissioner!”