While election officials around the state said Amendment One drove voters to the polls, the lack of presidential contenders may have held some back.
According to Richmond County Board of Elections Director Connie Kelly, four years ago during the May Primary Election, 11,623 voters cast ballots. This year only 9,465 voters made it out to polling places. Kelly said it could be because there was no presidential contest on this ballot. Richmond County has 30,084 registered voters.
This election served to narrow the playing field between Democrats and Republicans.
In Richmond County, President Barack Obama received 3,391 votes or 59.67 percent of the vote, and 2,292 voters chose ‘no preference,’ with 40.33 percent. In the whole state, Obama received 759,483 votes or 79.2 percent, and 199,426 voters chose ‘no preference’ with 20.8 percent of the vote.
Richmond County voters chose Democrat Walter Dalton for North Carolina governor, with 2,873 votes, or 48.93 percent. Democrat Bob Etheridge came in second with 2,112 votes, or 35.97 percent. Democrat Bruce Blackmon came in third with 238 votes (4.05 percent), Gardenia Henley came in fourth with 236 votes (4.02 percent), Gary Dunn came in fifth with 226 (3.85 percent) and Bill Faison came in last with 187 votes (3.18 percent).
Among Republican candidates for governor, Richmond County chose Pat McCrory with 1,674 votes. Followed by a large margin was runner-up Scott Jones with 76 votes or 3.79 percent, and Paul Wright received 72 votes with 3.59 percent, with Charles Kenneth Moss after him who received 69 votes or 3.44 percent. Jim Harney received 65 votes with 3.24 percent, and lastly Jim Mahan received 48 votes with 2.40 percent.
In the District 8 Congressional race, among the Republican candidates, Richard Hudson took the lead with 21,311 votes or 32.11 percent. Runner-up Scott Keadle received 14,581 votes or 21.97 percent. Vernon Robinson garnered 12,097 votes or 18.22 percent, followed by Fred Steen with 9,583 votes or 14.44 percent and John Whitley received 8,807 votes or 13.27 percent.
In Richmond County, Keadle lead the race with 695 votes or 36.87 percent, and Hudson followed in close second with 620 votes or 32.89 percent. Robinson came in third with 299 votes or 15.86 percent, followed by John Whitley with 213 votes or 11.30 percent and Steen received 58 votes with 3.08 percent.
Democrat for Congress Larry Kissell beat Democrat Marcus Williams in both the District and Richmond County. Locally, Kissell received 5,210 votes or 82.33 percent and Williams received 1,118 votes with 19.67 percent. In all of District 8, Kissell received 45,510 votes with 72.69 percent of the vote compared to Williams who received 17,097 or 27.31 percent of the vote.
Gene McLaurin, Rockingham’s mayor, won the Democratic nomination for the District 25 State Senate post, with 15,422 votes or 74 percent, while Democratic challenger Daniel Wilson received 5,426 votes or 26 percent. In Richmond County McLaurin won as well, with 5,798 votes or 87.12 percent, while Wilson received 857 votes or 12.88 percent.
Richmond County voters chose to amend the state constitution to only recognize legal unions between a man and a woman, with 7,166 votes (77.39 percent) for the amendment and 2,093 against (22.61 percent).
All vote tallies are unofficial until after the canvas, a meeting of the State Board of Elections, which will vote to approve the numbers. Until then, provisional ballots are still being verified. Kelly said Richmond County has just over 100 provisional ballots to verify.
Provisional ballots need to be verified when conflicting voter registration information is presented; for instance, if someone didn’t report a change of address. Election staff will need to verify all the information and ensure the ballot is valid before adding it to the vote tally.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at email@example.com.