Moody makes history in judge race

Published 1:02 am Wednesday, November 7, 2012

History was made in Judicial District 6B on Tuesday as voters in three counties supported the election of the district’s first-ever female judge.

Vershenia Ballance Moody has been chosen to replace retiring District Court Judge Thomas R.J. Newbern. Moody led the vote in Bertie, Hertford and Northampton, the counties that make up Judicial District 6B, to hold off Woodland attorney Luther B. Culpepper.

Moody won 57.72 percent of the vote and was selected by 15,813 voters across the three counties. Culpepper had 42.28 percent of the ballots cast and 11,583 total votes in the district.

“I’m elated and thankful to all voters of this district for their confidence and I will do the best job I can to honor that confidence,” said Moody during a Wednesday interview. “It will be an honor to serve the people of Bertie, Hertford and Northampton counties and I vow to treat everyone with respect and fairness in the courtroom.”

Moody was also ecstatic over the fact that she made history, based on her gender, in the local Judicial District.

“It’s not only a personal victory for me, but a historical one as well by becoming the first woman to serve on the bench in District 6B and I’m proud of that,” she noted. “Having said that, it becomes even more important to serve with dignity and honor.”

Moody said she was now working on the logistics of her swearing-in ceremony, which traditionally takes place on New Year’s Day. Once she decides the time and place of that event, she will inform the public through the media and other informational outlets.

Moody was the leading vote-getter in all three counties, but her largest margin of victory came in Hertford County where she won by 1,517 votes. Moody was favored on 5,373 ballots compared to Culpepper’s 3,878.

She carried seven of Hertford County’s 13 precincts (Bryantville, Murfreesboro 1, Murfreesboro 2, St. John, Ahoskie 3, Winton and Cofield). Culpepper led the balloting in the county’s other six precincts (Como, Union, Millennium, Ahoskie 1, Ahoskie 2 and Harrellsville).

Bertie County supported their native daughter in her bid to win election to the bench. A total of 4,959 voters in the county selected Moody compared to 3,442 for Culpepper.

Moody topped the balloting in the Bertie precincts of Roxobel, Mitchell’s 2, Woodville, Snakebite, Indian Woods, Windsor 1 and Colerain 2. Culpepper captured the Mitchell’s 1, Windsor 2, Colerain 1, Whites and Merry Hill polling places.

Both candidates call Northampton home and that county was the closest of the three. Moody received 5,481 votes while Culpepper claimed 4,263.

While he was on the short end of the vote in his home county, Culpepper actually won more precincts than his challenger, especially in the eastern polling places where he topped the balloting in Severn, Creeksville, Lasker, Potecasi, Conway, Woodland, Milwaukee, Newtown, Pendleton, Jackson, Rehobeth, and Galatia as well as the far western precinct (Lake Gaston).

Moody counteracted that by winning by wide margins in the Gaston, Garysburg, Pleasant Hill and Rich Square precincts.

The two candidates battled to a 135-135 stalemate at the Seaboard polling place.

In addition to the District Court Judgeship, voters in the same three counties chose Resident Superior Court Judge Cy Grant to serve another term. Grant received 22,112 votes in his unopposed bid to retain his seat on the bench.

(R-C News-Herald Editor Cal Bryant contributed to this story.)