Incumbents win majority of seats in Hertford County municipalities

Published 4:14 pm Friday, November 10, 2023

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The unofficial results from Tuesday’s municipal elections show that despite two incumbents on the Murfreesboro Town Council choosing not to seek another term, the majority of that board remains intact.

Meanwhile, voters in other Hertford County towns basically followed suit as the number of incumbent winners was far greater than those earning their first terms in office.

The Town of Murfreesboro boasted the largest field of candidates as three individuals sought to earn the Mayor’s seat while 10 names were on the ballot to fill the five chairs on the Council.

Incumbent Mayor Hal Thomas won another term by a wide margin. The unofficial results show Thomas with 304 votes, which represented nearly 63 percent of the total votes cast in the Mayor’s race. Former Councilwoman Sarah Whitley Wallace finished second with 106 votes followed by Peter B. Griffith with 69 votes.

In the race for Murfreesboro Town Council, three incumbents were reelected: Jay Revelle (378 votes), Berna Lawrence Stephens (289), and Craig L. Dennis (268).

The other two seats will be filled by political newcomers as Michael Bunch, who finished second in the voting, earned 350 votes while James Byerly was named on 257 ballots.

Rounding out the field of candidates were Bill Theodorakis (164 votes), Mitch Kelly (155), Michael Saner (130), Gilbert Tinkham (106), and James “Jimmie” Foster (47).

Incumbents Councilmen David Brown and James Futrell decided not to seek reelection in Murfreesboro.

There was only one contested race in Ahoskie. That came for one of the Ward B seats on the Town Council, which was recaptured by incumbent Charles Reynolds. He was the top vote-getter in a three-man race by being named on 94 ballots. David D. Robertson (78 votes) and Donald Kirkland (13) failed in their efforts to defeat Reynolds.

Reynolds received nearly one-half (46) of his total during the One Stop early voting period. He also received 10 absentee by mail votes. Robertson had 23 One Stop votes and two via absentee by mail. Kirkland’s vote total included nine by One Stop and three absentees by mail.

Ahoskie Mayor Weyling J. White was unchallenged in his quest to seek another term. White received 300 votes.

Political newcomer Charles Simmons was also unchallenged as he sought one of the Ward A seats in Ahoskie. Simmons, the longtime Athletic Director and varsity boys basketball coach at Hertford County High School, received 129 votes.

Town of Winton voters chose to reelect their Mayor and three of their five incumbents on the Town Council.

Mayor Evans Heath ran unopposed and received 77 votes.

Seven individuals sought the five seats on the Winton Town Council. Three incumbents were reelected: Blake Blythe and Emy Winstead, each with 65 votes, and Michael Hinton with 57 votes.

Political newcomer Bessie Pierce earned a Council seat with her 62 votes.

There’s a tie for the fifth and final seat as incumbent Clifton W. Sexton and political newcomer Danny Greene each received 55 votes. Hertford County Board of Elections Director Shelia Privott said that tie may be broken when the Elections Board decides next week what to do with one provisional vote that was cast in Winton. If the stalemate still exists, the Board will make the decision on what method to use to determine a winner.

“That could be by a coin flip or drawing straws,” Privott told the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald.

Winton Council incumbent Orlanda Reed (43 votes) was defeated in her quest for reelection.

Voters in Cofield and Harrellsville supported their incumbents on the ballot.

In Cofield, incumbent Mayor June S. Wynn was unopposed and received 52 votes.

All five of the incumbents on the Cofield Town Council were not challenged in their bids for reelection: Dacia Jenkins (58 votes), Stephen Lassiter (56), Hermea Pugh, Jr. (53), Rhonda Taylor (50), and Pamela Winborne (47).

Harrellsville Mayor Henry Nuss was not challenged and was named on 17 ballots.

Four incumbents filed for the five seats on the Harrellsville Town Council and were unopposed: Lisa Hunnicutt (17 votes), Thomas Grimes (16), Ronnie Revell, Sr. (16), and Deborah Baker (14).

The fifth seat on the Harrellsville Town Council will be determined when the county’s Board of Elections sorts through the ballots that contain 32 write-in votes. That effort will come during their official canvass that is required to be completed by Friday, Nov. 17. Once that canvass is completed, all vote totals become official.

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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