05/05/10 — Wayne County turnout low in primary election

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Wayne County turnout low in primary election

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on May 5, 2010 1:46 PM

With no local races on the ballot Tuesday, few Wayne County voters turned out to participate in the primary elections.

The contested races included both Republican and Democratic U.S. Senate primaries, as well as both Republican and Democratic U.S. House District 1 primaries.

In the senate race, Wayne County Democrats gave the nod to current N.C. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall (41.77 percent -- 934 votes), while Republican once again tapped incumbent Sen. Richard Burr by a wide margin (88.34 percent -- 1,583 votes).

Across the state Burr easily was his party's nomination, while Ms. Marshall will face a runoff next month against former state Sen. Cal Cunningham, who received 26.65 percent (596) of the vote in Wayne County.

In the House District 1 race, Wayne County native Jerry Grimes outpaced the Republican field locally, winning 51.99 percent of the vote (274 votes). However, across the district, he was defeated by Beaufort County native Ashley Woolard, who locally received 34.16 percent of the votes (180).

"This has been an incredible experience," Grimes said. "I have met literally thousands of incredible people who have inspired me to keep working. This is not a funeral. I have not used any Kleenex This is a birth, and like every birth takes some time and some pain. This is not the end. This is the beginning."

And, he said, regardless of who wins in November, he plans to keep an eye on how the First Congressional District is represented in Washington and whether things improve .

"I will be watching. I'm certainly not going anywhere," Grimes said.

On the Democratic side, incumbent Rep. G.K. Butterfield easily won his primary, with 79.71 percent of the vote (998) locally.

In House District 3, Walter Jones also easily won his primary, with 86.10 percent of the vote (1,072) locally.

In the two judicial races, Wayne County voters were again on the winning side, tapping incumbent Ann Marie Calabria with 45.5 percent (1,695) and Steven Walker with 36.12 percent (1,324).

Overall, the turnout in Wayne County was 5.98 percent -- 4,150 of the 69,351 registered voters -- likely because of the lack of local elections county elections Director Vickie Reed said.

"We tried to get the word out that we were having a primary," Ms. Reed said. "But I think in November we're going to have a good turnout."

"It went smoothly," she added. "We had no major problems. I think it went well."

In districts outside of Wayne County, Dewey Hudson won the Democratic nomination for state Senate District 10, while Brent Jackson won the Republican nomination. State Senate District 10 is the district covering Duplin, Lenoir and Sampson counties currently held by retired Sen. Charlie Albertson, D-Duplin.