Local News

Ousted sheriff apologizes again for election-night comments

Posted May 13, 2010

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— Wilson County's sheriff is again asking for forgiveness for comments he made after losing the primary election last Tuesday to a former sheriff's deputy and State Bureau of Investigation agent.

Wayne Gay blamed a racial divide in the county for his loss – Gay is white; his opponent, Calvin Woodard, is black – and told a crowd of supporters that he would work to help another candidate defeat Woodard in the general election.

Gay later said he apologized to Woodard, and in a letter published in Wednesday's Wilson Daily Times, wrote that he let down the public for his election-night comments.

The sheriff explained that he was "livid" because of "vicious rumors" about his family and comments referring to some of his black supporters as "lackeys."

"Despite those 'reasons,' I was wrong," he wrote. "There was no excuse for my reaction. Under the stress of the moment, you deserved much better. Please forgive me."

He also thanked readers for their support over the 28 years he has served as sheriff.

"I have always understood the sheriff's office, thankfully, does not 'belong' to any individual," he wrote. "You have the right to fill it as you wish. That's a right we should all cherish."

Woodard defeated Gay in the May 4 Democratic primary by a 62-38 percent margin.

Maj. John Farmer, a veteran officer with the Wilson County Sheriff's Office, announced his intention on Wednesday to run against Woodard as an unaffiliated candidate.

12 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • JacJac210 May 17, 2010

    Apology is not accepted. That is what the residents of Wilson, North Carolina should be saying to Sherriff Gay. To be honest, I’m a bit confused! Exactly why is Sherriff Gay apologizing? Is he sorry because he literally called the residents of Wilson who voted for Mr. Woodard ignorant because they were only voting for Mr. Woodard because he is black? Is he sorry for causing so much pain when he played the race card? Is he sorry for being a sore loser and vowing to help place another candidate on the ballot to run against Mr. Woodard. Or is Sherriff Gay only saying that he is sorry after his advisors told him that would be the appropriate thing to do? I’m not some naive individual who thinks all is well. While people have learned to coexist, it is sad to say that RACISM is very much alive and thriving. Sherriff Gay tried to use the race card for his benefit. It backfired! As a result, Sherriff Gay actively and with malice revived and encouraged a racial divide.

  • UPTOP May 13, 2010

    I would think it's about time for some new blood, new way of thinking, period !! color should not be the factor !! CHANGE is what matters.

  • beachboater May 13, 2010

    "See chart: Why do you refer to "white" people and "african americans" in the same sentence? If you are going to label one group of people by where their ancestors came from, then you need to do that for ALL groups of people. You need to refer to whites as "European Americans"."

    How bout, "residents of Wilson County?"

  • estrauch May 13, 2010

    I'm from Wilson. It's been all in the Wilson Times and repeated here again for the second time. Gay apologized and now Woodard has a chance to prove he is the best man for the job. Stop beating a dead horse and get on with it! GEEEZ!

  • vaulter May 13, 2010

    See chart: Why do you refer to "white" people and "african americans" in the same sentence? If you are going to label one group of people by where their ancestors came from, then you need to do that for ALL groups of people. You need to refer to whites as "European Americans".

  • 1 of the original Americans May 13, 2010

    Woodard defeated Gay in the May 4 Democratic primary by a 62-38 percent margin

    WOW this guy didnt just loose he got stomped!!! well hope this Famer guy (if white) sees he will need to win the african american vote to win

  • NotAgain May 13, 2010

    Woodard seems he may be more qualified than Gay anyway, good call voters. Maybe Gay's whipping boy Farmer will give him back his power.

  • See Chart May 13, 2010

    Almost to late for an apology but now the white folks
    should accept it as well as the African-Americans all
    of these groups complained.
    Wilson has got to change it's local Government as more
    business leaves, and Wilson kids lucky to go to college
    leave Wilson as well ,as few jobs are there or take jobs
    to stay in Wilson that are below there college qualifications.

  • bonnnie May 13, 2010

    I think that he was not the only one who thought race was an issue. Its sad but thats they way things go sometimes I think!

  • ihateliberals May 13, 2010

    Takes a big man to publish an apology however. I will give him credit for that. Most politicians ( I guess since this is an elected office that we can call the Sheriff a politician ) would just let it go.

More...