Gerald Stansbury has won the presidency of the Anne Arundel County branch of the NAACP in an election marred by delays in vote counting and contested ballots. His victory ends the 18-year reign of Jean Creek by a margin of two votes.
Keith Jones, who oversaw the branch elections for the national NAACP, announced the results yesterday.
Mr. Stansbury is likely to be sworn in this month.
"I won. And that's good," Mr. Stansbury said yesterday. "I feel we're on a path to make some changes in this county."
Ms. Creek could not be reached for comment, but her supporters were disappointed and said the organization would suffer without her.
"I am highly disappointed, and I don't know what I'm going to do," said James M. Stroud, who campaigned for Ms. Creek. "This is heart-breaking."
The leadership of the local branch has been in question since Mr. Stansbury challenged Ms. Creek's 11-vote victory in a Nov. 16 branch election. The national NAACP repeatedly postponed a new election.
When it finally occurred on June 28, the winner was unclear once again. Although Ms. Creek was initially ahead by a narrow margin, both candidates were waiting for the results on 54 challenged ballots by voters whose names did not appear on NAACP membership rolls.
Those ballots were counted this week, and Mr. Stansbury was declared the winner, 245-243.
Mr. Jones, a one-time state director of the New Jersey NAACP, said organization bylaws preclude another election even if Ms. Creek's supporters protest the results.
"The new elections are final, and there isn't any recourse to reverse these results," he said. "We do not have a continuing dilemma."
Mr. Stansbury's allies said the new leader would bring young members to the local branch of the NAACP, which they say has become mute, tired and impotent in recent years.
"When the Ku Klux Klan held a demonstration in Annapolis last year, where was the NAACP? The NAACP wasn't at the counterprotest marching with [Gov. Parris N. Glendening]. But Gerald Stansbury was," civil rights activist Carl O. Snowden said.
But Ms. Creek's supporters said Mr. Stansbury has never attended a local NAACP function and only seemed interested in the group when he set his sights on its presidency.
"The nonworkers come in and put this energy in the election, and now they're the winners. It's almost like getting something for nothing," said James Kilby, a branch officer also ousted in the election.
Once in office, Mr. Stansbury said he wants to run a get-out-the-vote campaign targeting young voters for the 1996 presidential campaign.