Election pattern is unclear

Published 9:47 am Monday, May 21, 2012

What did we learn from last week’s primaries?

I’m not sure. I’ve had a little over a week to digest the numbers both locally and statewide and I’m not sure there is a clear pattern. No group seemed to fare much better than others.

Democrats won by vast majorities in some primaries as Republicans did in some of theirs. Incumbents claimed convincing victories in hotly contested races and challengers easily outdistanced political veterans in others.

Locally, I must admit the voters of both Bertie and Hertford counties held surprises for me.

In my home county of Bertie, I expected a much closer race in the District 1 Commissioners race. I didn’t know who would win, but I expected the vote to be closer.

In Hertford County, I was astonished that there were no runoffs. I expected both the Register of Deeds race and the District 2 County Commission race to have to go to a second primary before determining a winner.

I applaud the voters for making their choices so clear and for going out and supporting the candidates of their choosing. That’s the way elections are supposed to work.

I was not surprised by the results of the Register of Deeds race in Bertie County nor the District 1 or District 3 Commissioners race in Hertford County.

Northampton County was a hard place to figure out with so many candidates seeking election to the school board. I’m not sure how the same voters selected Phil Matthews and Marjorie Edwards to take seats alongside Erica Smith-Ingram and Clinton Williams, but I guess that’s what happens in a race with so many candidates.

I think the most troubling results for me came in the statewide races on the Republican side. I find it concerning that Debra Goldman won the race for State Auditor and that John Tedesco was the leading vote-getter for Superintendent of Public Instruction. Both are members of the Wake County Board of Education which has been at the center of controversy for quite a while now.

Tedesco particularly has been a lightning rod for controversy and I’m gravely concerned if Republicans do not unite behind Richard Alexander in the second primary on July 17. I’m not fan of incumbent Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson, but will never vote for Tedesco for anything and I think a lot of other moderate Democrats would back me up on that.

A word of good news for eastern North Carolina came in the Republican primaries, however, as Chowan County Commissioner Ed Goodwin was the top vote-getter in the race for Secretary of State. He is being challenged by Wake County Commissioner Kenn Garnder in a runoff and I urge all of our local citizens to support Goodwin to help him get on the ballot in November.

I am a registered Democrat and have nothing against the incumbent Secretary of State, but will vote for Goodwin in November if we have the chance to send an eastern North Carolinian to Raleigh. Goodwin would provide a dose of good common sense to our state’s capital and I’d love to see him in that post.

While the Republicans were busy making a mess, the state’s Democrats didn’t do much better. There will be a runoff for Commissioner of Labor between John Brooks, who is reportedly 75 years old is seeking to return to the job he held from 1977 to 1993. He is in a second primary with Marlowe Foster who has no experience that would lead you to believe he is ready for the job.

It seems obvious to me that Cherie Berry should return to her post and most likely will.


Thad White is Managing Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be reached via email at thadd.white@r-cnews.com or by telephone at 332-7211.