While the nation held its breath for the outcome of perhaps the most divided election in its history, Wayne County kept a watchful eye on several local races that could, and did, result in big changes.
One such race was between incumbent, Judge Arnold Jones and local attorney, Will Bland. Jones remained on the ballot despite being found guilty in October of promising a payment of a bribe to a public official, and two other charges. Bland received nearly 64% of the vote to Jones’ 36%.
Goldsboro Daily News reached out to both candidates but only reached Judge-elect Bland. When asked when he first knew he was going to be the new Superior Court Judge for District 8B, Bland said, “When 100% of the votes were in.” He said he received a very thoughtful message from Jones and added, “He had a lot of loyal and dedicated supporters who are very nice. We enjoyed meeting them.”
Bland said the campaign was tough from start to finish and he and his committee worked hard, non-stop. He added, “I’m asking the people of Wayne County for their continued support and prayers, and the Lord’s wisdom and guidance as we go forward.”
In another closely watched judicial race, Curtis Stackhouse challenged incumbent Judge Annette Turik for the seat of NC District Court Judge for District 8. Turik had been appointed by Governor McCrory to fill the unexpired term of the late Judge Tim Finan, though Stackhouse had received the majority of votes from his peers for the replacement. Stackhouse recorded 68% of the votes on Tuesday night, to Turik’s nearly 32%.
In a phone interview, Stackhouse said, “It still really hasn’t set it.” He said he had been nervous up until the results started coming in and when asked why said, “When you’re a candidate, you don’t know what’s going to happen.” He went on to say he was blessed, “that 44,000 people looked at my name and decided I was the best choice. Every single vote is sacred to me.”
Stackhouse also said it was a humbling experience, adding, “I’m not perfect, but I’m motivated and excited to work for all the people in the district.” He said no one can “do it alone”, referring to campaigning, and he thanked friends and family for their help and “precious resources.” He said he would not be where he is today without them.
When asked if he had heard from Judge Turik, he said he had received a congratulatory message and responded. He also said they look forward to seeing each other at the courthouse.
Chairman of the Wayne County Commissioners, Joe Daughtery, said all eyes were on the Presidential election, so he wanted to speak on that first. He said the country needed a new direction and a break from the strings of money. Daughtery also touched on the gubernatorial race, saying he was concerned about our Governor, who he feels has done more work restoring our economy and who has worked hard for the state. He did feel there was hope with the nearly 100,000 provisional ballots that were not yet counted and could change the outcome.
For the local races, Daughtery said, “I was glad to see the decisions on our judges’ races. We ended with good decisions in both the superior and district court judges.” And he wanted to add one more thought in a race that disappointed him; Ven Faulk’s bid for the Wayne County Board of Education. He said, “I was real surprised about Ven Faulk. He’s worked really hard and I just don’t want this to discourage him from continuing.”
NC House Majority Leader, Representative John Bell, had an easy win for re-election over Evelyn Paul, with a 77% to 22% decision. Bell sent out a thank you to friends and supporters that read in part: “I want to thank you, the people of Craven, Greene, Lenoir, and Wayne counties for re-electing me to serve you in the North Carolina General Assembly. I am deeply humbled by your support and look forward to continuing to work on your behalf.”
The other races that had an effect on our local community are as follows:
David Rouzer (NC House District 7) 57% of the votes
Louis Pate (NC Senate District 7) 100% of the votes
Don Davis (NC Senate District 5) 100% of the votes
Jimmy Dixon (NC House District 4) 100% of the votes
Larry M. Bell (NC House District 21) 100% of the votes
Wayne Aycock, Ray Mayo, Ed Cromartie, John Bell, Joe Gurley, Bill Pate and Joe Daughtery, (Wayne County Commissioners), were all unopposed and each received 100% of the votes for their district.
Judy Harrison (Register of Deeds) 100% of the votes
Ray Smith Jr. (Board of Education at Large) 52% of the votes
Patricia Burden (Board of Education District 3) 60% of the votes
Charles P. Gaylor, III, Ericka James, Les Turner (All District Court Judges District 8) 100% of the votes for each in their respective areas.
David Brantley (Chief Judge for District Court Judges Districts 8A and 8B) 100% of the votes
Thomas Uzzell (Soil & Water Conservation District Supervisor) 100% of the votes
**100% of the votes means there was no challenger in the race.