11/05/08 — Braxton holds off LaRoque

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Braxton holds off LaRoque

By Staff Reports
Published in News on November 5, 2008 1:46 PM

Incumbent Democrat Van Braxton narrowly defeated Republican Stephen LaRoque in the race for the District 10 seat in the state House.

Braxton's showing in Greene County carried him to a second term. LaRoque won in Lenoir, which makes up most of the district, and in the four precincts in southeastern Wayne that also are contained in the 10th.

But Braxton won by a wide margin in Greene County, winning every precinct except Castoria.

Braxton, a former member of the Kinston City Council, received 2,393 votes in Wayne to LaRoque's 2,928. In Lenoir, he received 8,141 to LaRoque's 8,475. But in Greene he walked away from LaRoque, taking 4,839 votes to LaRoque's 3,077.

Braxton said he was happy with the victory but disappointed in his showing in his home county.

"To lose in Lenoir County is very disappointing," he said.

The district contains most of rural Lenoir, all of Greene and the Indian Springs Fire Station, Dudley Fire Station, New Hope Friends Church and Spring Creek precincts in Wayne. Braxton won by narrow margins in Indian Springs and Dudley but lost in Seven Springs and New Hope Friends by 182 and 136 votes, respectively.

He attributed his poor showing in sections of the mostly rural district to voters' dissatisfaction with the economy.

"I really think what happened is that people are just concerned about the economy, about jobs and they just perceived me to be a more liberal Democrat than I really am and they were just voting conservative, afraid of more liberal Democrats, although I am a conservative Democrat."

Braxton said he believes he did a good job in his first term in the House, helping obtain infrastructure money for the district and creating jobs. He said he would work even harder in his second term to convince the district's voters that they made the right choice.

LaRoque held the seat for two terms before being ousted by Wayne County's Willie Ray Starling in the Republican primary two years ago. Starling ran for Wayne County Board of Commissioners this year.

LaRoque congratulated Braxton on his win and said the Democratic sweep was too strong to overcome.

"It's been a tough year to run as a Republican anywhere," LaRoque said.