Northampton incumbents fall

Published 4:23 pm Friday, March 8, 2024

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New faces will likely be joining the Board of Commissioners in Northampton County later this year.

According to unofficial results from the March 5 primary election, Charles Tyner, who currently represents District 1, and Geneva Riddick-Faulkner, who currently represents District 2, were defeated by their opponents at the polls.

Keith Hugh Edwards received the most votes (1,472) in the Democrat primary for the Board of Commissioners District 1 seat. That was a margin of just 33 votes more than Tyner, who received 1,439. A third challenger, Marcenda Rogers, received 587 votes.

Tyner initially had the lead with the in-person early voting numbers, receiving 821 of his votes by that method. But Edwards received a higher total (969 votes) from voters who cast their ballots on Election Day.

Voters in the eastern precincts of the county as well as the Lake Gaston precinct favored Edwards, while Tyner had higher margins in the Gaston, Garysburg/Pleasant Hill, and Rich Square precincts. The closest race was in the Seaboard precinct where Edwards received 64 votes to Tyner’s 62 votes.

For District 2, challenger Keedra Whitaker received 1,746 votes to Riddick-Faulkner’s 1,547 in the Democrat primary, a margin of 199 votes.

Like Tyner, Riddick-Faulkner also started with an early lead amongst the early voters, receiving 829 votes to Whitaker’s 749. But that flipped with the Election Day votes, with Whitaker receiving the higher amount.

Most precincts favored Whitaker, though Riddick-Faulkner received more votes in the Gaston, Garysburg/Pleasant Hill, and Seaboard precincts. The closest race was in the Woodland/Potecasi precinct where both candidates tied with 49 votes each.

The primary election selects one candidate per party to move on to the general election in November. No Republicans filed for the two Board of Commissioner seats, so Edwards and Whitaker, pending the outcome of any possible recount, will face no opposition in November’s general election.

Northampton County also voted to select four people to serve on the county’s Board of Education. This was a non-partisan race, and the four candidates with the most votes will begin their terms in July.

Barbara A. Stephenson received the most votes (2,752). She was followed by Clinton McCray Williams (2,316 votes), Tony Burnette (1,998 votes), and Garry T. Elliott (1,895 votes). All are incumbents already serving on the school board except for Elliott.

Only 13 votes separated Elliott and candidate Shakila Spruill who received 1,882 votes. Incumbent Theresa Cade received 1,763 votes. There were 61 write-in votes for the Board of Education race.

Northampton County Elections Director Spinosa Clements told the News Herald on Thursday that Spruill had officially requested a recount for the school board race. That recount will take place after the county canvass.

Any candidate requesting a recount must do so in writing. The recount request deadline is 5 p.m. on the first business day following the county canvass.

All results are unofficial until canvassed by the Northampton County Board of Elections on March 15.

Voter turnout in Northampton County for this year’s primary election was just over 35 percent, which is slightly up from 34 percent during the 2022 primary.