A Wilson County Commission candidate whose race ended in a tie and originally planned to concede Sunday, changed his mind only hours later and plans to see how the provisional ballot count will end Wednesday after he made racially charged comments on Facebook about his opponent’s family.
A Facebook comment by Wilson County Commission District 1 candidate Robert Fields regarding his opponent’s family appeared Friday on Facebook. Several people came to Fields’ opponent, Tim Roehler’s defense and called Fields a “racist.”
The comment, which Fields said Sunday was an answer to a question, alleged Roehler hid the fact he is in an interracial marriage. Many people, including Roehler, have commented on Facebook, calling Fields a racist and calling for him to concede the election.
On Sunday afternoon, Fields said he would “concede the race to Mr. Roehler .
“In retrospect, I can see that the comment can be considered racist, but I am not a racist.”
Fields and Roehler both received 526 votes in District 1 in Thursday’s Wilson County General Election. Both Fields and Roehler sought to replace Commissioner Becky Siever, who chose not to seek re-election. Kevin Graves and incumbent Kenny Reich both received 571 votes in District 6.
Prior to Fields’ concession, provisional ballots could have broken the tie when the election is certified Wednesday, or if the tie remained, it could have been up to the Wilson County Commission to decide what to do. Administrator of Elections Phillip Warren said Friday that District 1 has two provisional ballots. The two provisional ballots cast will be researched to determine whether the votes are counted and unsealed Wednesday to possibly determine the outcome of the race. If neither count nor both count and are split between the two candidates, the race would have remained a tie. It’s also possible both could count but neither voter cast a ballot in the commission race.
District 6 didn’t have any provisional ballots, so that race will remain a tie until it’s broken.
According to Wilson County attorney Mike Jennings, state law dictates the Wilson County Commission could opt to cast the deciding vote or the race could be placed on the Nov. 6 ballot as a runoff. Jennings said a decision would be made after Wednesday when the election is certified.