Local News

Wilson sheriff apologizes for election-night remarks

Posted May 7, 2010

— Wilson County Sheriff Wayne Gay has apologized for remarks he made Tuesday night upon learning that he had lost the Democratic primary to former deputy Calvin Woodard.

Gay told a crowd of supporters that Woodard wasn't the right man to lead the county for the next four years and that he would work to help another candidate defeat Woodard in the November general election. By law, Gay cannot enter his name as a write-in candidate in November.

Woodard, a State Bureau of Investigation agent, defeated Gay, one of the state's longest-serving sheriffs, by a 62 to 38 percent margin.

Gay also has blamed a racial divide in Wilson County for his loss. He is white, and Woodard is black.

On Thursday, Gay said, he called Woodard to apologize. He said he plans to help Woodard make the transition into office and wouldn't be part of any effort to get a write-in candidate to challenge him in November.


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  • Catriona May 7, 2010

    T-Heel Girl, we are probably neighbors and we are definitely the same ethnicity. You're right, Gay's comments were inexcusable, and this isn't a racial issue. Estrauch, Gay may have commented in disappointment, but he cast a shadow on all of the hard-working men and women in the sheriff's department, most of whom, I imagine, are as ready for a change as the rest of the county. If I'm not mistaken, Gay didn't even carry his own precinct.

  • T-Heel Girl May 7, 2010

    The outcome of this election is about MUCH more than race. Wayne Gay’s comments are inexcusable – especially given the office he holds! He’s a product of the corrupt associations that he began his career with – the Robin Pridgen days. Woodard was the better choice for the sheriff’s office. He brings the character and knowledge that is needed. Wilson County needs a sheriff’s department that isn’t corrupt or driven by power and money. I’m from a white family in the Western part of the county. All of my family voted for Woodard. We’re excited about this change and wish him the best. Please see the bigger picture. Woodard has many white supporters! This isn’t a racial issue.

  • Lead by Example May 7, 2010

    I'm curious to see what will happen this fall in the actual election.

  • estrauch May 7, 2010

    I live in Wilson and I'm a registered Republican. I think that Gay took the loss very hard and commented in disappointment. True it was in very poor taste that he made those comments instead of congratulating Woodard, which would have been more appropriate. He realized his mistake and apologized.....good for him. Now we Wilsonians are all anxiously awaiting to see how Woodard will perform as the new Sheriff. As far as race goes, it may have been a racially diverse polling, however I doubt it considering the information that was gathered from each district. The far eastern districts in Wilson voted for Woodard. Those districts happen to be mostly black. While on the other hand the western districts voted for Gay, which are mostly white. At any rate, I hope Woodard will be a good Sheriff.

  • affirmativediversity May 7, 2010

    affirmativediversity - You know full well that the name is DemocraTIC Party. How silly to use this silly idea floated by the losers in the extreme right of the Republican Party per seankelly15


    What silly idea would you be referring to?

    The one were people regularly refer to a group of people by a nasty sexual pejorative (Oh wait, that would be the Democrats when referring to people in the Tea Party Movement),


    The one were Conservatives would like to EARN the participation of ALL Americans and take NO ONE FOR GRANTED along the way?

  • seankelly15 May 7, 2010

    affirmativediversity - You know full well that the name is DemocraTIC Party. How silly to use this silly idea floated by the losers in the extreme right of the Republican Party.

    As to the substance of his racist comments, what was the breakdown of votes by race? He apparently benifitted from the Black vote for many years, now he is criticizing it.

  • luvsbooks May 7, 2010

    Making comments in the heat of the moment are never a wise decision. It is nice of him to apologize. I have to wonder though, if an apology would have been offered if the citizens of Wilson hadn't spoken up in support of Mr. Woodard. Mr. Gay not only angered many of Mr. Woodard's supporters he also angered some of his own with his remarks. I just hope he was sincere.

  • affirmativediversity May 7, 2010

    Mr. Gays original statement should be very telling and a wake up call to black voters...the Democrat Party takes the vote of black Americans so much for granted that they truly believe they own...that its their vote and does not need to be earned.

    I wish black voters would reach beyond their Democrat Party horizon...it would broaden everyone's horizon