Northampton incumbents upset

Published 12:12 pm Thursday, March 17, 2016

JACKSON – A pair of incumbent members on the Northampton County Board of Commissioners saw their respective bids for reelection end on Tuesday.

In the Primary Election, District 1 incumbent Joseph R. Barrett of Conway was defeated by Charles R. Tyner Sr. The unofficial balloting showed Tyner, a former member of the county’s Board of Education, with 2,445 votes (51.95%) compared to 2,261 votes (48.05 %) for Barrett.

In District 2, incumbent and former Board Chairwoman Virginia D. Spruill of Rich Square lost to political newcomer Geneva N. Riddick. The winner received 2,362 votes (53.28%) while Spruill was named on 2,071 ballots (46.72%).

The Barrett-Tyner race boiled down to voter turnout on opposite ends of the county. Tyner rode the strength of a strong showing in the western portion of Northampton where he outdistanced Barrett 304-102 in Garysburg; 317-157 in Gaston; 139-87 in Lake Gaston; and 167-84 in Seaboard. He also captured the Pleasant Hill and Rich Square precincts by 44-35 and 160-143 respectively.

Barrett’s major support came from the eastern end of the county: 212-62 in Conway; 133-41 in Creeksville; 109-51 in Galatia; 104-50 in Jackson; 53-9 in Lasker; 74-47 in Milwaukee; 95-76 in Newtown; 45-23 in Pendleton; 24-15 in Potecasi; 46-28 in Rehobeth; 62-25 in Severn; and 110-52 in Woodland.

Tyner held a decisive edge (835-586) in the ballots cast by the One-Stop and Absentee by Mail voting methods.

Barrett, whose term ends in December, was appointed to the Board of Commissioners in May of 2012 following the resignation of then District 1 member James Hester. Barrett ran unopposed in the November 2012 election to earn a four-year term on the board.

Meanwhile, Spruill, first elected in 2000, will see her 16-year career on the board come to an end in December following her loss in Tuesday’s Primary.

The District 2 race leaned heavily towards Riddick in four precincts: 278-127 in Garysburg; 281-190 in Gaston; 149-79 in Lake Gaston; and 150-82 in Seaboard. That gave Riddick well over one-third (858) of her vote total and that 380-vote swing in those four precincts was more than enough to account for her 291-vote margin of victory.

The two candidates battled to near stalemates in Conway and Lasker (117-113 and 28-25 respectively in favor of the incumbent).

Spruill’s strength in numbers came in Creeksville (85-49); Galatia (75-56); Milwaukee (60-40); and Woodland (103-48). She barely won the precincts of Pendleton (31-24); Potecasi (19-16); Rehobeth (37-29); and Rich Square (154-146).

Riddick captured the Jackson (72-68), Newtown (82-68), and Pleasant Hill (42-39) precincts. She also topped the One-Stop / Absentee by Mail balloting (734-658).

Turnout for the Primary Election in Northampton was 41.11 percent (6,002 of the county’s 14,601 registered voters cast ballots).

All results are unofficial until the Northampton Board of Elections conducts a canvass next week of each precinct.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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