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Abbs, Crozier take Orange board seats

Incumbent Shannon Abbs and political newcomer Jim Crozier won the Orange County supervisor seats Tuesday in closely contested races.

Abbs defeated challenger Diane Strong in District 1 by 11 votes—1,104 to 1,093—to retain her supervisor’s seat.

During her campaign, Abbs said she was for small government, against tax increases, and that growth in Orange County was a concern where infrastructure was not in place to support it. Her opponent voiced support for broadening the county tax base and attracting businesses to promote growth.

At the opposite end of the county, retired fireman and businessman Jim Crozier, the current vice chairman of the county Economic Development Authority, defeated financial adviser Jon Chasen for the right to represent District 4 on the Board of Supervisors. Crozier tallied 983 votes to Chasen’s 676. Matthew Sutton, who dropped out of the race earlier, but was still on the ballot, received 25 votes.

Moving up the reopening of the shuttered Locust Grove Middle School to create a new elementary school was a contentious issue in the District 4 campaign. Crozier favored the reopening, but only when funds are available in the budget to do so. Chasen was more vocally in favor of accomplishing the reopening without delay.

In his campaign, Crozier stressed the importance of balancing diverse opinions and desires in the district and county, and the need to guide economic development “so that we don’t end up with something like Central Park.”

“I am honored that the voters have selected me,” Crozier said Tuesday night. “It is an honor and a privilege to start serving, and help the county move forward in the right direction.”

The School Board seats for the two districts were uncontested. Incumbent Lou Thompson was unopposed in District 1, while Bette Winter was the lone candidate for the District 4 seat.

Dan McFarland: