Bell, Evans are only Democrats on board
By Ty Johnson
Published in News on November 7, 2012 1:46 PM
As Republicans took control of the Wayne County Board of Commissioners for the first time in recent memory, two incumbent Democrats easily held their seats Tuesday night in the county's minority districts.
Chairman John Bell of District 3, running unopposed, received 15,763 votes to keep his seat while Republican Kenny Talton was soundly beaten by incumbent District 2 Commissioner J.D. Evans in the only contested commissioner race the Republicans lost.
Evans received 5,210 votes, just more than 72 percent of the total, while Talton received 1,983 votes.
Evans couldn't be reached election night due to exhaustion, but close friend Ed Cromartie spoke on his behalf, saying Evans intends to continue to fulfill his obligations as his district's representative to the commission, despite health complications that have plagued him over the past five months.
"He has continued to represent the district and voted on all issues that have come before (the commission). He's doing his job as a county commissioner just as the other folks are."
Unprompted, he insisted Evans would fulfill his four-year charge.
"We fully expect him to serve his term," he said.
Among the projects Cromartie said Evans held most dear was the completion of the Steele Memorial Library in Mount Olive.
Cromartie said he had spoken mostly with Evans' wife and son over the past week, but said he felt the three-term commissioner's commitment to his constituents was what kept him going.
"I think that's where he focuses on is his relationship with the citizens of Wayne County. That's what keeps motivating him to do what he does," he said.
His challenger was gracious in defeat, noting that he learned a lot about the county and his district during his campaign.
"The education that I've gotten about what is going on in the world around me ... has been remarkable," Talton said.
An eight-year member of the Mount Olive Town Board, Talton said the step up to county partisan politics was a steep one, although he felt local government should focus less on parties and more on improving the area.
Still, Talton said he was pleased that voters had elected a Republican majority to the county commission.
Over the next four years he said he will focus on his family, faith and work with the city of Goldsboro, and that it was too early to tell whether he would run for public office again.