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Wood wins, Higgs re-elected in Fredericksburg

MORE: Read more news from Fredericksburg

Brenda A. Wood won a closely contested race among two political newcomers to become Fredericksburg’s next treasurer.

Wood defeated Rita A. Girard on Tuesday with 52.6 percent of the 5,511 votes cast, according to unofficial results.

Wood’s election means the city treasurer’s office should see a smooth transition from the 43-year tenure of G.M. “Jim” Haney.

Haney, 81, announced in May that he would retire at the end of his term and endorsed Wood as his successor. He has served since 1970.

Wood, 58, has been Haney’s chief deputy for the past four years and has a total of 12 years’ experience in the city treasurer’s office.

“I’m just honored to be able to continue to serve the citizens of Fredericksburg,” Wood said after learning the results on Tuesday night.

Girard, 60, has been office manager for city Commonwealth’s Attorney LaBravia Jenkins for the past four years.

Neither she nor Wood had ever held elected political office, and the competitiveness of the race was apparent Tuesday as voters exited the polls. Few voters were willing to say whom they supported.

“I expected it to be a close race,” Wood said. “I know my opponent had a lot of support in certain areas of the city.”

Wood received 2,899 votes to 2,612 for Girard, based on unofficial results on Tuesday night.

In the city’s other contested race, incumbent Sheriff Paul W. Higgs was re-elected with 76 percent of the nearly 5,500 votes cast. The city registrar’s office was trying to resolve an error with the numbers posted to the state Board of Elections website.

Higgs faced a challenge from Ron A. Swaney, 48, who is a member of the Fredericksburg Police Department and works in community policing.

Higgs, 59, has led the Fredericksburg Sheriff’s Office for 14 years, and voters were apparently satisfied with the job he’s doing.

Attorney Carolyn Seklii, who voted in Ward 4, was among those who cast her ballot for Higgs.

“I think the people who work for him like him and that’s important,” she said.

Elizabeth Lewis, who celebrated her 49th birthday on Tuesday, also supported Higgs, saying the lack of controversy surrounding his tenure was a factor for her.

“I didn’t have any reason to think he hadn’t done a good job,” Lewis said.

Higgs said he was grateful for the support of city residents on Tuesday.

“I just thank the voters of Fredericksburg for putting me back in,” he said. “I didn’t make any promises I knew I couldn’t keep so I feel good about it.”

Pamela Gould: 540/735-1972

pgould@freelancestar.com

 

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