Neck & Neck
When word came to the South Central Jurisdiction on the first day of the Conference that the South Eastern Jurisdiction had elected all five of their candidates in 10 ballots, people grew hopeful that this year’s election might go quickly. That wasn’t to be. Instead, it took a record-breaking (for the South Central Jurisdiction) 35 ballots to elect three bishops.
In the first ballot Rev. Ruben Saenz Jr. of the Rio Texas Conference emerged as a clear leader with 101 votes, with the next closest being Rev. David Wilson of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference with 71 votes. Rev. Lynn Dyke of Missouri (endorsed by the Women’s Leadership Team) was in fifth with 62 and Rev. Bob Farr, endorsed by the Missouri Conference Delegation, was in seventh with 43.
By the third ballot, Saenz had enough votes to become Bishop Saenz, getting 133 votes and only needing 127.
The following ballot had close leaders but none close to being elected. Rev. Jimmy Nunn received 84 votes, Wilson received 82, and Dyke received 79.
In the fifth ballot, Wilson was in the lead with 93 votes. Nunn was still second, and Dyke was third.
On the sixth ballot, Nunn regained a small lead with 91 votes. Farr’s vote fell into the thirties on ballots 7 through 11. The voting on Thursday ended at 9:30 p.m. with only one election completed.
The conference resumed Friday morning at 8 a.m. Nunn maintained his lead until he was elected on ballot 21, receiving 126 votes, the exact number needed for election.
On the 22 ballot, the vote total was Wilson 78, Farr 50 and Rev. Morris Matthis of the Texas Conference with 45. On ballot 23, Wilson had 86, Farr had 63 and Matthis had 36. Matthis withdrew his name after these results were announced. On ballot 24, Wilson had 104 and Farr had 99. Farr took the lead on ballot 25, with 98 votes to Wilson’s 96.
Farr held the lead, but it took a lot more voting until he finally received 138 votes (127 needed) on ballot 35.