11/07/12 — Ericka James defeats Carraway

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Ericka James defeats Carraway

By Dennis Hill
Published in News on November 7, 2012 1:46 PM

Ericka James, an assistant district attorney in the 8th Judicial District, defeated incumbent District Court Judge Lonnie Carraway on Tuesday to become the district's first black female judge.

Mrs. James, 42, credited a support network that included both Democrats and Republicans for her victory.

"I'm just so thankful for everyone who worked so hard," she said. "I'm still in shock, but very thankful to all the voters, especially those in Wayne County."

She lost to Carraway in his home county, Greene, 5,319 votes to 2,208, and narrowly lost to him in Lenoir County, 11,811 votes to 10,542. But she won overwhelmingly in Wayne, receiving 22,623 votes to Carraway's 14,905.

Mrs. James, who lives in Pikeville, unseated Carraway, who had served on the bench for 12 years but who had gone through a troublesome year due to his arrest for driving while under the influence of prescription drugs in November 2011.

"I would like to congratulate Mrs. James," Carraway said Tuesday night.

Mrs. James, a native of Petersburg, Va., previously worked as a prosecutor in Elizabeth City before moving to Wayne County two years ago. She was in private law practice before that.

She said she was "incredibly humbled" by her successful campaign and said she would pray for "the wisdom of Solomon" as she prepared to put on the judicial robe.

Mrs. James and her husband, Ronald, have three children. She said she had considered running for judge while in Elizabeth City, but that circumstances led her family to move to Wayne County, where she became an assistant district attorney.

Four other district court judges were unopposed in seeking four-year terms. David Brantley, Tim Finan, Les Turner and Charles Gaylor all retained their seats. The seat held by District Court Judge Beth Heath was not up for re-election.