Asbell, Wray emerge victorious

Published 10:35 am Thursday, May 10, 2018

Two local veteran politicians have advanced to November’s General Election after scoring wins in Tuesday’s Democratic Primary.

In a four-county race for the Democratic Party’s nomination for District Attorney (District 7), incumbent DA Valerie Mitchell Asbell of Ahoskie handily defeated Norlan Graves of Halifax County.

Asbell, currently serving her fourth term as the local District Attorney, received 11,915 votes, according to the unofficial results. She faces no Republican opposition in November.

Graves was named on 8,942 ballots.

“First of all, I want to thank God who has graced and blessed my life with opportunities beyond measure,” Asbell said in a statement on Wednesday morning. “I want to thank my husband and two sons who were so patient and supportive during this time.

“While I am the person who was elected, the success of our office really belongs to the many dedicated, skilled and fearless professionals of my staff with whom I work on a daily basis,” she added.

The incumbent DA offered plenty of other praise in her effort to secure another term in office.

“There were many people who helped me tremendously during the past four months and I could not begin to list them all; however; I want to especially thank my staff, my campaign committee members, all of the people who went door to door, all of the poll workers, and people who contributed financially to this election. Without the tireless efforts of these people, we would not have been able to win this election,” she said.

“It is an honor and a privilege to serve Bertie, Halifax, Hertford and Northampton counties and I appreciate the confidence these counties have continued to place in me and my staff.  I have always had and will continue to have an open door policy. I promise to continue to work to make this judicial district strong and efficient,” Asbell concluded.

Leading by just over 100 votes (3,727 to 3,616) after the One-Stop and Absentee-By-Mail ballots were counted, Asbell needed a big showing on her behalf on Election Day (Tuesday). She got exactly that by collecting nearly 3,000 more votes than her opponent (8,208 to 5,326).

She won all 12 voting precincts in Bertie County by wide margins (including a 153-8 rout in Windsor 2). All totaled, Asbell captured Bertie, 2,577 to 1,067.

Each of Hertford County’s 13 precincts also favored Asbell, all by wide margins with the exception of Ahoskie 3. Combined, she won Ahoskie 1 and Ahoskie 2, 600-152; and Murfreesboro 1 and 2, 503-213.

All totaled, Asbell received 3,026 votes in Hertford County compared to 1,212 for Graves.

The race in Northampton County was a bit tighter between the two DA candidates. There, Asbell was named on 2,274 ballots while Graves collected 1,954 votes.

She was the leading vote-getter in 14 of Northampton’s 18 precincts, including wide margins in Conway (168-40), Galatia (104-27), Jackson (122-37), Lasker (73-12), Newtown (96-37), and Woodland (91-32).

Graves faired better in the western portion of Northampton where he topped the ballot in Garysburg (196-115), Gaston (199-100), and Lake Gaston (134-75).

In his home county of Halifax, Graves topped the ballot  by a 4,709 to 4,058 count.

Tuesday’s unofficial results also favored incumbent Michael H. Wray in his bid for the Democratic nomination for the NC House of Representatives (District 27).

Wray, the seven-term incumbent, turned back the challenge of Franklin D. Williams Jr. (7,295 to 5,692).

In his home county of Northampton, Wray topped the vote (2,297 to 1,931). He also defeated Williams on the challenger’s home turf, winning Halifax County, 4,998 to 3,761.

In November’s General Election, Wray will face Raymond (Ray) Dyer, a Republican from Henrico. Dyer did not have a GOP challenger in the Primary.

There were two Republican primaries on Tuesday for state House and Senate seats that involve the Roanoke-Chowan area.

In State House District 1, Edward C. Goodwin edged Candice Hunter, 1,980 to 1,612 according to the unofficial results. Goodwin, a former Chowan County Commissioner, now advances to meet current Bertie County Commissioner Ronald “Ron” Wesson. Wesson, a Democrat, had no challenger in Tuesday’s Primary.

In the GOP battle for that party’s nomination in NC Senate District 1, Bob Steinburg defeated Clark Twiddy, 6,760 to 4,894. Steinburg, of Edenton who is a three-term incumbent in the NC House Representatives, advances to November’s General Election where he will face D. Cole Phelps, a Washington County attorney. Phelps was not challenged in Tuesday’s Primary.

For Steinburg, he carried nine of the Senate district’s 11 counties, including Hertford (158-55) and Gates (215-109). Twiddy, a realtor on the Outer Banks, topped the ballot in Dare (1,735-1,105) and Currituck (1,470-1,435) counties.

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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