Guilford County Commissioner Alan Branson was hoping that a dramatic final leg of the District 4 commissioners race would allow him to make up the 18 votes he fell short in the general election this year – and would allow him, a Republican, to edge out a last-minute victory over his Democratic challenger Mary Beth Murphy.

Branson, who began serving as the District 4 commissioner in 2012, was counting on outstanding votes – about 280 of them in his race – to allow him to make up the difference.

Though the Guilford County Board of Elections had counted almost all of the votes cast before and on Election Day this year – Tuesday, Nov. 3 – the board still had to count those absentee ballots that were postmarked by Election Day and came in before Thursday, Nov. 12. That’s day when the Guilford County Board of Elections met to begin counting those late votes in all races. This year, those who sent in ballots had until Nov. 12 for their ballots to arrive . And those people who saw issues arise at the polling place as to whether they not they could vote were allowed to cast provisional votes.

Branson said before the count late last week that he hoped he would be able to make up the difference given the number of outstanding votes.  

However, in Guilford County, as in much of the rest of the country, absentee ballots leaned Democratic.

In the end, the tally showed a victorious Murphy with 21,725 votes and Branson with 21,655 – a difference of 70.