Kerr, LaRoque, Jones and Butterfield win
By Matt Shaw
Published in News on November 3, 2004 2:01 PM
All of Wayne County's representatives will return to the N.C. General Assembly and the U.S. Congress, although four had to survive challenges.
Voters re-elected N.C. Sen. John Kerr III, N.C. Rep. Stephen LaRoque, and U.S. House members G.K. Butterfield and Walter B. Jones Jr. in unofficial returns.
Wayne County voters also went for Richard Burr, the Republican congressman who won the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by John Edwards. Burr received 57 percent of the county vote over Democrat Erskine Bowles.
Wayne County's other representatives in the N.C. General Assembly were all unopposed and re-elected with ease. They are Sen. Fred Smith, a Republican from Clayton; Rep. Louis Pate, a Mount Olive Republican; and Rep. Larry M. Bell, a Democrat from Clinton.
Kerr, a Democrat from Goldsboro, defeated N.C. Sen. Tony Moore, a Republican from Winterville, in the 5th District, one of the few elections statewide that pitted two incumbent legislators against each other.
Kerr received 33,034 votes, or 57 percent, to Moore's 25,369. He handily won both Wayne and Greene counties and came close to winning Moore's home county, Pitt.
Kerr said today that he "is overwhelmed and personally pleased" by his 10th win of a N.C. General Assembly seat. This will be his seventh term in the N.C. Senate, following three in the N.C. House.
"My staff and I spent a lot of time and effort to introduce ourselves in Pitt County, which is a new county for me," Kerr said. "We did very well there, and Wayne and Greene counties have always been good to me.
"I'm proudest that we ran a positive campaign. Some of the negative stuff that was used against me turns off voters."
Kerr called the next two years an important time for eastern North Carolina. He will work for U.S. 70 improvements and other boosts to the economy, he said.
LaRoque, a Republican, turned back a challenge by Democrat James "Lew" Llewellyn, a former judge, in the 10th District. Both candidates live in Kinston.
LaRoque received 14,302 votes, or 58 percent, to Llewllyn's 10,551. LaRoque did even better in Wayne County, taking 64 percent of the four precincts that vote in the 10th District.
U.S. Rep. Butterfield, a Democrat from Wilson, won the rematch with Greg Dority, a Republican from Washington, N.C.
Butterfield received 64 percent of the vote in the 1st Congressional District. In Wayne County, the congressman took 58 percent.
Butterfield bested Dority by a similar margin in a special election in July to fill the rest of Frank Ballance's term.
In the 3rd Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Jones won his sixth consecutive term in the U.S. House. The Farmville Republican received 71 percent of the vote over Roger Eaton, a Democrat from Morehead City making his first run for office.
Wayne County turned out even stronger for Jones, who received 76 percent of the local vote.
Wayne County is nearly divided between the two congressional districts.
Billy Creech of Clayton, who previously represented Wayne County in the N.C. House, was defeated in his bid for the U.S. House. The Republican challenged U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge but only received 38 percent of the vote in the 2nd Congressional District, which includes Johnston County.
U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre, a Democrat, won re-election in the 7th Congressional District, beating GOP challenger Ken Plonk with 72 percent of the vote. The district includes most of Duplin County.
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