John Bell gets seat in N.C. House District 10
By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on November 7, 2012 1:46 PM
John Bell and his wife, Kelli, speak to voters at the Wayne County Republican headquarters after his victory Tuesday.
Political newcomer Republican John Bell will head to Raleigh in January after defeating Democrat James Hardison for the state House District 10 seat by nearly a two to one margin.
Bell, of Rosewood, defeated Hardison, of Kinston, in a district with a perimeter of nearly 400 miles across Craven, Lenoir, Greene and Wayne counties -- one reason for his defeat, Hardison said.
"I first want to congratulate John Bell. He ran a hard, clean campaign. We both worked hard," Hardison said. "I would have to say, though, that this race was won when the districts were drawn by the Legislature. That's not to take anything away from John. He worked hard. But this district was strategically drawn. Even he said it was the most gerrymandered in the state. You had to go a long way to find the voters."
Still, the victory Tuesday night belonged to Bell, and he said he is eager to finally get up to Raleigh after helping other candidates reach the Legislature in years past.
"I'm eager to go up there. The people of eastern North Carolina are ready for someone who will go up to Raleigh and be their voice, and I'm ready to go to work," he said.
And while he acknowledged he was running in a strong Republican district, he said he believed his message and his hard work were what carried him to victory.
"I thought it was going to be closer," Bell said. "But our campaign worked hard in all four counties. My district is a good conservative district with good conservative people and they came out to vote.
"I think my message resonated in the primary where we won a close victory, and we just kept pushing that message. The people of eastern North Carolina want someone who will work for them, and I'm honored to be the person they chose to do that."
Bell won 8,301 votes in Wayne (74.5 percent), 1,394 votes in Greene (58.18 percent), 7,853 votes in Lenoir (64.93 percent) and 6,733 votes in Craven (62.6 percent), for a total of 24,281 (66.73 percent).
Hardison won 2,842 votes in Wayne (25.5 percent), 1,002 votes in Greene (41.82 percent), 4,241 votes in Lenoir (35.07 percent) and 4,023 votes in Craven (37.4 percent), for a total of 12,108 (33.27 percent).