05/07/08 — Your Votes - Rouzer to face Carroll for state Senate District 12

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Your Votes - Rouzer to face Carroll for state Senate District 12

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on May 7, 2008 1:56 PM

With Republican state Sen. Fred Smith giving up his District 12 seat in a failed bid for his party's gubernatorial nomination, four candidates stepped up during Tuesday's primaries for the chance to fill it.

Now, with the votes counted in both Wayne and Johnston counties, those two candidates will be Republican David Rouzer and Democrat Kay Carroll -- both of whom won by two-to-one margins.

"I'm very pleased," Rouzer said, adding though that he surprised even himself with his margin of victory. "It was a hard-fought, tough campaign, and when you're campaigning hard, you just always assume you're behind.

"But I tried to campaign on the issues and run a positive campaign, and I think the voters of Wayne and Johnston counties responded to that."

The reaction by Carroll was much the same, as he, too, said that he was "pleased" with the evening's results.

"As we met more people and got to know them ... I think people became comfortable with me and felt like they could trust me to look after them," he said. "That means a whole lot in terms of gaining support."

And he'll have the support of his opponent heading into November as well.

"Of course I'm going to support Mr. Carroll. He would have supported me," Mrs. Oliver said, adding that she feels good about the campaign she ran. "We worked hard on it. We just didn't win it. It's hard to beat the chairman of the school board."

Ms. Reeves, also said that she felt she'd done all she could -- even as it did become a bitter campaign toward the end with her filing suit against Rouzer for slander regarding an ad linking her to Medicaid fraud issues at her former company Health Services Personnel Inc.

"I think we've run a campaign that's been a year in the making and we've had great support," she said. "I'm just glad to see it come to an end."

For the two winners, though, Tuesday's victories mark just the beginning.

"We'll try to get over (to Wayne County) and start our work this summer," Carroll, the owner and operator of Carroll Pharmacy in Smithfield, said. "Hopefully as people see more of me they'll become more comfortable with me.

"People need to feel know that we'll listen to them."

For his part, Rouzer, a federal government relations consultant from McGee's Crossroads, is hoping to begin capitalizing on his victory immediately.

"We've got a lot of energy and I think that's going to bode well for November," he said. "I'm going to start campaigning tomorrow (Wednesday), and I'm going to be in Wayne County as often as I can, meeting as many people as I can, campaigning on the issues and running a good old-fashioned Johnston and Wayne County campaign."

By the numbers: Rouzer beat Nena Reeves, 67.86 percent to 32.14 percent (57.88 percent to 42.12 percent in Wayne County), while Carroll beat Patricia Oliver, 68.92 percent to 31.08 percent (57.52 percent to 42.48 percent in Wayne County).