Incumbents reign supreme (Except for GOP House District 06)

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EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA — Incumbency manifested itself in spades this election season! Our area’s most prominent incumbent is certainly Republican Walter B. Jones of the Third Congressional District, who held off a determined, well funded, and hard-hitting challenge from Craven County Commissioner Scott Dacey.

A third GOP candidate, Phil Law — who also ran against Jones in the 2016 GOP primary — apparently made Dacey’s task more difficult, siphoning enough of the anti-Jones vote to edge into a surprising second place finish.


Nor did the abysmal turnout (by some estimates as low as 14 percent) lend much needed momentum to either Law’s or Dacey’s difficult quest to unseat the two-decade veteran of Congress.

In a statement released Wednesday morning, Jones — who faces no Democratic opposition in November — said the following:

“I’ve always had faith in the voters that they could see through the political smokescreens. This result was as much about the character of the voters as it was about the candidates. I’m proud to represent these fine people!”

Despite the perks and powers of an incumbent, a wild card for many existing office holders became the controversial court-ordered redistricting of numerous General Assembly seats. One Republican state House legislator, Beverly Boswell, suffered dramatic — and fatal — changes to her House 06 district.

Under the new boundaries, Boswell was forced to campaign for the first time on unfamiliar turf — Pamlico, where she did well; and, Currituck, where she fared poorly — losing to challenger Bobby Hanig, who currently serves as popular chairman of the Currituck County Commission.

Redistricting also played havoc with the campaign of GOP incumbent Michael Special, state House 03. The confines — and some say less conservative tendencies — of the tightly drawn enclave (entirely within Craven County) pitted Speciale in his ultimately successful contest against spirited challenger Eric Queen.

The region’s closest election came in the Democratic primary for a state senate seat, pitting Dorothea White of New Bern against Emerald Isle physician Ginger Garner. White, the Democratic nominee for the same seat two years ago, took her home turf of Craven County, but narrowly lost to Garner in Pamlico, while Garner won decisively among Carteret County Democrats.

The final tally of this squeaker? Garner: 3,928 White:3,856

Garner faces an uphill battle in November. Waiting in the wings is yet another of those tough-to-defeat incumbents — Norm Sanderson, who breezed to a landslide win in his GOP primary over Lisa Oakley.

In a closely watched election for the Pamlico County Board of Education, more incumbents — this time Paul Delamar Jr. and Judy Humphries — again teamed as a slate to run for the At-Large seats they have held over the past four years. The effort was too much for a solo At-Large challenger — Carinna Smith.

However, the board will see a new face, Helen Jones Robinson, who ran without opposition for the District 4 slot.