11/04/09 — McDonald earns third term as Mount Olive mayor

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McDonald earns third term as Mount Olive mayor

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on November 4, 2009 1:46 PM

Mayor Ray McDonald Sr.

MOUNT OLIVE -- Incumbent Ray McDonald Sr. will serve another two-year term as mayor of Mount Olive, voters decided Tuesday.

McDonald, who also previously served as town manager and in other capacities for the town government, said he was impressed with the number of people who cast their ballots for him in the race despite the relatively low voter turnout.

"It wasn't a big turnout, but it was a pretty high percentage of what did turn out. That was kind of humbling to me," he said. "You get that big of a vote, you feel humbled by it. I just hope I can do the job people voted me to do."

The mayor's office was the only contested position on the Mount Olive ballot. McDonald's opponent, James Mayo Jr., received 58 votes, or 13.71 percent of the ballots. McDonald received 362 votes, 85.58 percent. Three people cast ballots for a write-in candidate.

"Really and truly, I can say that seat doesn't belong to you, and you can always be challenged. And you should do a good job so you can keep it if you want to," he said.

McDonald spent much of the evening at the polls before going home with his family.

"I'm feeling good. I'm tired, but I'm feeling good. My whole family's tired," he said. "I'm so grateful to the people who worked for us and came out and turned this great vote tonight. I want to be worthy of the people who voted for me."

The first priority of his new term will be to meet with the commissioners and help determine the town department committee arrangements.

All five candidates for seats on the Mount Olive town board ran unopposed, and only one new commissioner will begin serving on the board.

Newcomer George Fulghum was elected to the District 3 seat and expects the start of his first term to be a learning process, he said. Fulghum is replacing Commissioner Lloyd Warren.

"My first priority is to get involved and learn," Fulghum said.

Fulghum received 114 votes. He will be one of the youngest members of the board.

"I was grateful for everybody, and to see as good a turnout as we seem to have had for it being an off-year election, and thankful for all the support we received in our district," Fulghum said.

Fulghum will serve with incumbents Commissioner At-Large Ray Thompson, District 1 Commissioner Kenny Talton, District 2 Commissioner Hosea Manley, and District 4 Commissioner Gene Lee, all of whom were returned to office.

All of the commissioners serve two-year terms.

Lee's thoughts about his upcoming term were "all good," but he said he had hoped to see more people voting in the election. The unopposed commissioners' races may have been a factor, he said.

"I just feel that we needed more of a turnout than what we got. It was just real extremely low. I guess people just take it for granted that everything was going to stay the same anyway," Lee said.

Despite the low return, he was satisfied with the night's results. Lee received 113 votes, with six write-in votes.

"I'm happy for everyone, and I'm ready to move on with the town," he said.

His first priority for his next term will be to focus on planning for the town.

"Just settling in and coming up with a plan. That's what I think we need to do, try and plan for the next few years where we're headed," Lee said.

District 1 Commissioner Kenny Talton said he is looking forward to working with the new board in the future.

"Whether you have no opposition or if you do have opposition, the public demands representation through action, so we have to continue doing what we do, and that's representing the people and families and businesses of Mount Olive," Talton said. "We're going to do that with this new board."

He feels positive about his upcoming term, and about working with newcomer Fulghum, he said.

"George is real experienced with the Parks and Recreation board," Talton said. "We're just excited, being cohesive, being a good board that continues to work together for the common good of all. That's where we stand. I think everybody on our board has the town at heart."

Board members will take the oath of office on Dec. 7.