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Board of Education District 6 candidate Cory Elrod shakes hands with supporters shortly before results are announced Tuesday night. Elrod will compete in a runoff election April 24 against incumbent Anthony Hilliard.

Limestone County School Board member Anthony Hilliard got a run for his money in Tuesday’s Republican primary election.

Political newcomer Cory Elrod — an 18-year-old, single, college student from Athens who graduated from Athens Bible School — garnered 20 votes more than Hilliard, 50, of Athens, in the District 6 school board race. It was not enough to defeat the incumbent board member. So, the two will face each other in the April 24 Republican primary runoff election.

“I’m really happy but I was hoping for a little better,” Elrod told The News Courier after the vote. “I believe the people of Limestone County really spoke tonight. I think they are ready for a change.”

Elrod, who is currently a college student at Calhoun Community College, drew 383 votes, or 43 percent percent of the total vote, to incumbent Hilliard’s 363 votes, or 41 percent.

“I think the low turnout (about 32 percent of eligible voters) helped Cory,” Hilliard said following the vote. “He’s ambitious,” Hilliard said of Elrod.

Hilliard, who has a bachelor’s degree in vocational education from Athens State University, has served one six-year term on the board. He and his wife, Veronica, have two daughters, Olivia and Sarah, who attend, or attended, public school in Limestone County.

Hilliard said he would have to get out and drum up more support in the six weeks leading up to the runoff if he is going to maintain his post.

The third-place candidate, Jason Adkison, 31, of Harvest, garnered 142 votes, or 16 percent; not enough to get him in the runoff.

To avoid a runoff, a winning candidate must receive more than 50 percent of the total votes cast. Although provisional ballots still have to be counted, the number will likely be too few to push either candidate to 50 percent.

Unless there is a write-in candidate, whomever wins the runoff election between Elrod and Hilliard will likely be the next District 6 school board member because there are no Democratic challengers to face the winner in the Nov. 6 General Election.

Pay for a Limestone County school board member is $6,600 per year for a six-year term. Board members have no authority over school affairs as individuals but they do as a legal body. The board is a policy-making body, meaning its job is to evaluate the effectiveness of the execution of board policies.

District 6, which contains Creekside Elementary School, includes areas east of Interstate 65 and north of Wooley Spring Road as well as the far eastern border of the county from roughly McKee Road to U.S. 72.

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