Bertie School Board: Dudley retains seat; Occena ousted

Published 10:13 pm Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Pending any changes from the uncounted absentee-by-mail and provisional ballots, it appears one incumbent on the Bertie County Board of Education will retain their seat while another current member of that board has lost their reelection bid.

According to the unofficial results of Tuesday’s General Election, incumbent Tarsha Bush Dudley defeated challenger Casey Owens in a closely contested race for the District 5 seat on the board.

Those unofficial results show Dudley’s margin of victory at a mere 110 votes (3,901 – 3,791). Her winning margin came during the Early Voting period where she topped the balloting 2,991 – 2,710. She also edged Owens in the absentee-by-mail balloting, those received by Nov. 3, (322 – 271).

On Election Day, Owens led the balloting, 810 – 588, with the majority of that advantage coming in the Windsor 2 precinct where he had 109 votes compared to 31 for Dudley, and in the Whites precinct (93-38). Owens also led the Election Day balloting in the Colerain 1, Colerain 2, Merry Hill, and Windsor 1 prcincts.

Dudley is the current Chair of the Bertie School Board.

Meanwhile, incumbent School Board member Bob Occena was defeated by challenger Reba Cooper Carlton in the District 1 race. She was named on 4,122 ballots, capturing 52 percent of the vote. Occena has 3,777 votes.

Carlton led the Early Voting balloting (3,150 – 2,679) and Absentee-By-Mail voting (322 – 290).

On Election Day, Occena topped the balloting in seven of the county’s 12 precincts. There, his widest margins came in the Mitchells 1 (81 – 47), Mitchells 2 (91 – 57), Windsor 2 (110 – 55), Roxobel (74 – 44), Windsor 1 (144 – 111), and Whites (88 – 51) precincts.

Bertie Commissioners Ron Wesson (6,724 votes) and John Trent (4,544) were uncontested in their reelection bids, as was incumbent Register of Deeds Annie F. Wilson (6,754 votes).

Turnout was heavy in Bertie where 73 percent of the county’s registered voters cast ballots.

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.

email author More by Cal