The big winners in the Lincoln County elections and throughout the nation in Tuesdayâ€™s elections were the record number of voters who turned out. In Lincoln County nearly 30,000 voters turned out â€” almost 70 percent of all registered voters. They knew it was an important election and they didnâ€™t pass it up. The same can be said nationally as voters turned out in the largest raw numbers ever.
The victors in this election can rest assured they received a good test from this huge turnout. Locally the top vote-getter was Tom Anderson, who has served the county well in his first term and who seems to understand the important issues facing Lincoln County. Anderson will be joined by newcomers Marie Moore and Alex Patton. We wish them well as they embark on the challenging mission of serving a diverse community in the throes of growing pains.
Special congratulations go to School Board member Fred Jarrett, who faced negative publicity earlier this year when police were called to his home as he contemplated suicide while in the grips of severe depression. His public admission of that affliction and his resolve to overcome it took a lot of courage and determination. Also elected to the board was Tony Jenkins, who survived challenges from two opponents for the Member at Large seat. That success demonstrated voter confidence in his service.
Rep. Joe Kiser of Vale once again showed off his rapport with Lincoln County voters as he prevailed over a challenge by Democrat Ken Fortenberry. At 71, Kiser has proven himself to be a durable public servant who has risen to important positions of leadership in the North Carolina House.
We also congratulate the losers, both in the partisan and non-partisan races, for showing interest in public service and making a credible effort to seek election. For Democrat challengers like Brad Duke and Fortenberry, it was an uphill battle in this GOP dominated county. Indeed, when all the votes were tallied, there were no Democratic winners on Tuesdayâ€™s ballot. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, who won the statewide race, garnered the most votes of any Democrat on the ballot (48 percent) but still lost out in Lincoln County to Republican Jay Rao.
Lincoln County Democrats share the disappointment of their colleagues in the national party, still reeling as they saw their hopes buried by the huge Republican vote. But defeat is often the drive for a new beginning. In the Lincoln County races most Democratic candidates were able to garner a third of the votes or more. Thatâ€™s a good base that can grow. Minority parties have shown time and again they can win with the right candidates and the right message.