Incumbent Republican Paul Johnson narrowly pulled out a victory in his bid for a fifth term on the Surry County Board of Commissioners, defeating former House of Representatives member David Diamont.
Johnson, 51, defeated Diamont, 66, receiving 14,718 votes — or 52.37 percent — to Diamont’s 13,386 votes.
Contacted shortly after the results were in, Johnson said the campaign was “about what I expected.”
“I knew Dave is a seasoned political veteran, and expected him to bring his best and he did,” he said. “But then again, so did my campaign. His challenge made us work harder, and we did.”
Johnson said his philosophy has always been to out-work his opposition.
“To use a football analogy that Dave will understand, he likes to run the football up the middle, but the difference tonight was that I had blocking and he didn’t.”
Johnson said the credit for the victory goes to God.
“I’d like to thank my family, close friends and supporters who have been behind me for the past 20 years, but I give God the credit, not them,” he said.
The Republican commissioner said he promises to continue to serve the county.
“I’ll continue to work as hard as I have over the past 16 years,” he said. “I’ll probably make some mistakes along the way, but my intentions are pure — to serve the people of the county and to make their lives as good as possible.”
Johnson credited Diamont with a spirited campaign.
“He brought out every different kind of person he could bring out, and that was challenging, but I managed to pull it out,” he said.
The incumbent commissioner said he would like to thank the people who cast their ballot for him.
“I’d like to tell them that I thank them from the bottom of my heart for their vote, their hard work and their confidence in me to help lead Surry County in the troubled times we’re in,” he said.
Diamont said he was disappointed in the election.
“We knew going into this campaign that we’d need a lot of Republican votes, and we just didn’t get enough,” he said.
But the experience of campaigning was enjoyable nonetheless, he said.
“I enjoyed the experience as usual because it’s fascinating to listen to the people and hear what they have to say,” he said. “It’s been a positive experience for me although I’m really disappointed. I met a lot of great people and had a lot of good people helping me, but it didn’t happen, and I believe it didn’t happen for a reason.”
Reach Keith Strange at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.