11/03/10 — Bell headed back to his seat in N.C. House

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Bell headed back to his seat in N.C. House

By Steve Herring
Published in News on November 3, 2010 1:46 PM

Democrat state Rep. Larry Bell of Clinton bucked the Republican tide Tuesday, handily winning his sixth term serving House District 21 by an unofficial margin of 9,295 to 4,263 over newcomer Deann Poirier of Mount Olive.

Bell had commanding leads in both his home county of Sampson as well as in Wayne. District 21 includes Sampson County and snakes through the middle of Wayne County from Mount Olive up to Goldsboro.

Unofficial results in Sampson give Bell 4,682 votes (61.58 percent) to 2,921 (38.42 percent) for Mrs. Poirier. He had an unofficial total of 4,613 votes (77.46 percent) in Wayne to 1,342 (22.54 percent) for Mrs. Poirier.

Mrs. Poirier could not be reached for comment prior to press time this morning.

Bell said he was not surprised by the Republican surge since the GOP had made the economy a national issue capitalizing on the public's negative feelings.

"We (Democrats) have become victim of that," he said. "I am grateful people have shown that much confidence in me in the two counties. I have worked hard. I have always taken the approach not to take it on my own, but what the people want."

Bell said people know him because of his years of experience as superintendent of Sampson County Public Schools and as a Sampson County commissioner.

"They know me and know what I stand for," he said.

One thing that worries Bell about Republican control of the House is whether he will be able to retain his committee chairmanships.

Bell is chairman of the House Education Committee and vice chairman of the Education Appropriation and Agriculture committees.

"I am mainly an educator. If there is a shift in leadership it (chairmanships) will be one of those things they will take advantage of naturally," Bell said. "I have been able to work with both sides of the aisle. I will always try to work with everybody and deal with the issues.

"Certainly, I hate we lost (Rep.) Van Braxton and (Sen.) Don Davis. We all worked together. I also worked with (senator-elect) Louis Pate when he was in the House. I would have felt better if the Democrats had won, but I will try to make the best of the situation. It is not about us, but the people that we serve."