Red Wave Continues Across Columbus
While the so-called Red Wave may have petered out on the national scene, Republicans made a strong showing in Columbus County Tuesday, tasking all the contested races on the ballot.
Democrat Barbara Featherson won the District One Commissioner seat 1ith 1,776 votes to 384 write-ins, but other Republicans handily won their posts on the commission and county school boards.
Current Commission Chair Ricky Bullard was unopposed in District Six of the county board, and received 2,449 votes. There were no write-ins against Bullard, a Cerro Gordo farmer and businessman.
Retired State Trooper Scott Floyd surprised many when he threw his hat in the ring for the District Seven seat earlier this year. Scott had a strong showing of 2,104 votes to Edward squires 510.
On the county school board, Ronnie Strickland won 8,103 votes to Timothy Lance’s 4,334. Eight write-ins were recorded there.
In District Three, former bank executive Irvin Enzor won 7,181 votes to Democrat Frankye Boone’s 3,992. Jerome McMillian, who dropped out of the race after the ballots were printed, still scored 1,572 ballots. McMillian was defeated for the nomination for the county commission seat he currently holds earlier this year, and had signed up to run for school board.
Chris Worley was unchallenged for the District Four county school board seat, raking in 10,342 votes. Write-ins for that race totaled 1,114.
In the Whiteville city schools races, Anna Hall Richardson defeated Phyllis Haynes, 698 to 256 for the District One seat. For District Two, incumbent David Flowers defeated Jason elleby, 659-140.
In the city schools at large contest, Byron Fisher edged out Ernie Gaskins, 1,987 to 1,788. Perennial challenger Elgin Collier collected 413 votes.
Incumbent Rep. Brenden Jones and Sen. Bill Rabon, a Fair Bluff native who lives in Southport, both won reelection in uncontested races. Jones received 19,795 votes in the two county district, while Rabon, who represents Brunswick, Columbus, parts of Bladen and Pender, scored 67,141 votes.
In the U.S. Senate race between former State Supreme Court Justice Cherie Beasley and Republican businessman Tedd Budd, early votes once again favored the Democrat, but Budd ended up winning the day statewide, with 1,891,342 to Beasley’s 1,755,716. In Columbus, Budd took 11,654 to Beasley’s 6,854. David Rouzer defeated Charles Graham for the District Six congressional seat, which includes Columbus. Graham gathered 116,640 votes to Rouzer’s 159,982 overall, with Graham winning 6,847 and Rouzer 12,073 here.
While Democrats for U.S. Senate, House and state judicial posts hammered on abortion rights, Republican Supreme Court candidates toed a national GOP strategy of focusing on rising crime rates. The platform apparently worked, as Republicans took all six seats that were open on the State Supreme court. That shifts the balance of the court – which has been seen as openly favorable to Democrats and Gov. Roy Cooper -- to a five to two Republican majority until at least 2018.
In addition to possibly opening doors for new hearings on issues like voter ID, a right-leaning court could end some of the seemingly endless lawsuits over redistricting.
“Republicans in the State legislature will once again draw new legislative and congressional districts,” political analyst Dallas Woodhouse told Carolina Journal, “but this time the GOP dominated court is likely to approve the new maps. Republicans can expect to cement GOP gains in the legislature and reverse Democrat gains in congressional seats in 2024.”
Statewide, Republicans also gained seats in the legislature. The GOP will now enjoy a veto proof 30 seats in the state senate, and stand just one seat shy of a super majority in the State House.