Elections 2016

Tom Pahl wins Ocracoke Township commissioner vote

Tom Pahl, winner of the Democratic primary for Ocracoke Township county commissioner. Photo by P. Vankevich

Tom Pahl, winner of the Democratic primary for Ocracoke Township county commissioner. Photo by P. Vankevich

Editor’s note: This article has been updated March 16 2:34 p.m to reflect fuller returns from last night.
Warren Judge and Beverly Boswell to face off for House Assembly seat

By Connie Leinbach

Tom Pahl defeated incumbent John Fletcher Tuesday night for the position of Ocracoke Township commissioner by a total tally of 504 to 406.

Since there were no Republican contenders, Pahl is the presumptive new commissioner come January barring a write-in campaign.

“I’m very pleased,” Pahl said as well wishers greeted him at his home Tuesday night. “I ran a really good campaign and a lot of people said they’d support me and they proved to be correct.

“I will work for everyone whether they voted for me or not.”

Of the Ocracoke vote, Pahl received 158 votes to Fletcher’s 65.

“I got whipped,” Fletcher said when contacted at his home Tuesday night. “Such is life.”

He said he hadn’t spent a dime on campaigning, nor had he spent any money in the 2012 campaign when he defeated incumbent Darlene Styron in the primary.  

Darlene Styron, former Ocracoke Township county and Tom Pahl. Photo by P. Vankevich

Darlene Styron, former Ocracoke Township county commissioner, and Tom Pahl. Photo by P. Vankevich

Fletcher had won with 606 votes to 489. Styron had carried Ocracoke 146 to 121 for Fletcher.

“If they didn’t want me they didn’t have to have me,” Fletcher said about the vote.

Nevertheless, he said he will continue out the year working on some of the issues he has been working on “for the good of the island.”

“The road at the north end is something we gotta do,” he said about the continued washing out of Highway 12 between the pony pens and the north end ferry dock.  “I would like to get a better deal for the school.”

John Fletcher. Photo by P. Vankevich

John Fletcher. Photo by P. Vankevich

Total votes cast in Hyde County for all races were 1,432 out of a total of 3,406 registered voters, said Viola Williams, elections director.

That represents 42 percent of the registered voters, she said.

Donald Trump won Hyde County in the Republican presidential primary with 218 votes followed by Ted Cruz, 138, John Kasich 33 and Marco Rubio, 19. Democrat Hillary Clinton carried the county with 459 votes and Bernie Sanders had 388.

A statewide election of interest for Ocracoke was for the North Carolina Commissioner of Labor. Charles Meeker, with long-time roots to the island, beat Mazie Ferguson 525,843 to 402,970. He will run against the incumbent Republican, Cherie Killian Berry, in November.

In all of the Hyde County precincts, Williams reported the following numbers turned out:

Burgess Mill, 109; Engelhard, 227; Fairfield, 114; Lake Landing, 186; Ocracoke, 283; Sladesville, 141; and Swan Quarter, 150.  There were 222 early or absentee ballots cast.

However, Williams said more absentee ballots may still come into the office since they could have been postmarked for Tuesday, the last day they could be sent. She will have the final totals by Tuesday.

Total votes cast for the Ocracoke Township commissioner in 2012 was 267, which was more than the 223 total votes cast for that seat this year.

Williams said, for Hyde County Board of Education seats, incumbents Randy Etheridge received 713 votes and Thomas Whitaker got 498 votes. These two are the presumptive winners for these two seats. 

The two other candidates, Willie G. Shaw received 387 and James (Little Brother) Topping received 379 votes. There were also 48 write-in votes.

As for the other races, the N.C. state board of elections reported the following results:

For the N.C. State House District 6 which includes Ocracoke, Warren Judge received 7,480 votes over Judy Justice, 2,337, both Democrats.

For the Republicans, Beverly Boswell won with 3810, defeating Ashley Woolard, 3565, and Arthur Williams who received  2,933 votes.

The yes votes statewide at 10:30 p.m. for the ConnectNC Public Improvement bond—with some precincts outstanding—was ahead at 1,239,289 over 652,416 no votes. The tally on Wednesday afternoon was 1,402,138 for and 736,817 against.

With all local precincts reporting, the referendum carried in Hyde County 68 percent, 872 yes votes to 409 no votes.

While the U.S. Congressional District 6 should have had an election, that race will be held June 7 due to court challenges to North Carolina’s redistricting map.

This was the first election in which voters were required to present a photo ID to cast a vote.  Election officials reported no problems on Ocracoke.

Peter Vankevich contributed to this story.