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By Peter Vankevich
James “Little Brother”Topping narrowly defeated Joey Williams in Tuesday’s primary election for the Democratic nominee for Swan Quarter County Commissioner. Topping won 297 to 285. Williams carried the Swan Quarter Precinct, 61 to 40, and Ocracoke overwhelmingly went for Topping, 71 to 24.
These were the only two candidates running to replace Dick Tunnell, who decided not to seek reelection. Unless someone mounts a write-in campaign and because there were no Republican challengers, Topping is the de facto winner of this office. However, Topping will still be on the general election ballot Nov. 6. North Carolina election laws prohibit defeated primary candidates from conducting write-in campaigns.
Of the 3,407 eligible voters in Hyde County, 821 ballots were cast representing a 24 per cent turnout.
“I want to thank everybody for getting out and supporting me,” Topping said Wednesday morning. “I will do my very best to serve the county in every aspect. I’m looking forward to getting started to pull our county back up.” He said he plans a visit to Ocracoke to meet with the islanders and hear their concerns.
Walter Jones easily won the U.S. House of Representatives District 3 race, defeating challengers Phil Law and Scott Dacey. Jones, 75, who has served the District for 24 years, said this will be his last election. He will be unopposed on the November ballot since no Democrats filed to run.
Ocracoke will have new representation in the General Assembly in 2019. House District 6 incumbent Beverly
Boswell (R-Kill Devil Hills) lost in the Republican primary to Bobby Hanig of Powells Point.
The Boswell-Hanig race got ugly right after Hanig announced his intention to run. Boswell attempted to paint Hanig as a liberal and both candidates tried to out-conservative the other. The race last week erupted when Hanig sent out a flyer stating Boswell has a police record; that she has incorrectly identified herself as a nurse, not a medical assistant; and noted her legislation that led to the repeal of the plastic bag ban and her support of offshore exploration for oil and natural gas. Boswell’s campaign called on Hanig to apologize and he refused. Hanig carried Dare County 1,620 to 1,200 where Boswell lives.
Hanig will run against Democrat Tess Judge, Kill Devils Hills, for the District 6 seat. Judge was unopposed and so was not on yesterday’s ballot. Only unopposed contenders were on Tuesday’s ballot.
In the State Senate District 1 race, Bob Steinburg defeated Clark Twiddy for the Republican nomination. Current State Sen. Bill Cook (R-Beaufort) was not eligible to run for reelection due to redistricting that took his residency out of District 1.
Steinburg, of Edenton, will run in November against Democrat D. Cole Phelps of Creswell. Although Phelps was on the primary ballot, his opponent, Steve James, was declared ineligible due to a ruling after the ballots were printed that he was not a resident of the district.
The complete but unofficial primary results below are from the NC Board of Elections website:
Hyde County Board of Commissioners Swan Quarter Township
James (Little Brother) Topping DEM 297 51.03%
Joseph (Joey) Williams DEM 285 48.97%
U.S. House of Representatives District 3
Walter B. Jones REP 20,862 43.01%
Phil Law REP 14,266 29.41%
Scott Dacey REP 13,380 27.58%
N.C State Senate District 1
Bob Steinburg REP 6,760 58.01%
Clark Twiddy REP 4,894 41.99%
N.C. House of Representatives District 6
Bobby Hanig REP 3,613 53.02%
Beverly Boswell REP 3,202 46.98%