07/21/04 — LaRoque beats Starling in House race

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LaRoque beats Starling in House race

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on July 21, 2004 2:05 PM

Willie Ray Starling of Mount Olive failed in his attempt Tuesday to unseat N.C. Rep. Stephen LaRoque.

In the Republican primary, Starling bested the legislator in both Wayne and Greene counties, but LaRoque proved too strong in Lenoir, his home county.

The unofficial total in the N.C. House's District 10 primary was LaRoque 1,149 votes, or 56 percent, and Starling 889 votes, 44 percent.

LaRoque will now face Democrat Lew Llewellyn, another Kinston resident, in the Nov. 2 general election. Llewellyn did not have a challenger Tuesday.

Ed Wharton and Willie Ray Starling

News-Argus/Dennis Hill

Ed Wharton, left, and Willie Ray Starling await results at the Wayne Board of Elections on Tuesday night.

Starling conceded defeat in a message to supporters Tuesday night. "It was not meant to be. Folks just did not turn out," he said. "God has something else for me. I just have to listen and learn what it is."

Starling carried Wayne County with 338 votes to LaRoque's 89. He also won Greene County with 127 votes to LaRoque's 98.

But the majority of the turnout was in Lenoir County, where LaRoque more than doubled Starling's support. The incumbent received 962 votes and the challenger 424.

Only five Wayne County precincts are in the 10th District. The unofficial vote totals were as follows:

*New Hope Friends Church (Precinct #14): LaRoque 36, Starling 87.

*Spring Creek High School (#15): LaRoque 20, Starling 88.

*Dudley Fire Department (#26): LaRoque 3, Starling 10.

*Indian Springs Fire Department (#28): LaRoque 14, Starling 107.

*Absentee: LaRoque 16, Starling 46.

TOTALS: LaRoque 89, Starling 338.