The vacant seat of the late N.C. Sen. Jim Forrester, R-Gaston, was filled during a meeting Monday night of Republican Party executive committee members from Lincoln, Gaston and Iredell counties.
Chris Carney, a member of the Town of Mooresville Board of Commissioners, was elected over Dr. David Curtis, vice chair of the Lincoln County Republican Party, to replace Forrester, who passed away on Oct. 31, in the North Carolina General Assembly.
Only those executive committee members residing within Forresterâ€™s Senate District 41 were eligible to vote on nominees during the meeting, which was held at the East Lincoln Fire Department.
Carney and Curtis, the only nominations from the floor, each received 13 raw votes. However, since the votes were weighted according to the number of residents per county within the district, Carney was victorious with 421.78 weighted votes to Curtisâ€™ 277.26.
The voting members from each county sat in three separate rows and were handed ballots to fill out. Overseeing the tabulation of the results was the teller committee, consisting of Lincoln County Republican Party Chairman Bradley Putnam, Chad Brown of Gaston County and Iredell County party head Jason Abernethy.
Iredell County has the highest population in the district and, therefore, the largest share of the vote, while Gaston County has the smallest. Carney received seven votes from Iredell County executive committee members to Curtisâ€™ zero.
From Gaston County, Carney received six votes, with Curtis getting one. Lincoln County committee members gave Carney zero votes to Curtisâ€™ 12.
Prior to the vote, each nominee was allotted three minutes to speak, with both stressing the importance of moving forward with the conservative values that Forrester had upheld and remembering his legacy. Carney pointed out that it was a â€œsad momentâ€ and that it was â€œhumbling just to be here.â€
Following his victory, Carney thanked the voting members of Gaston and Iredell counties and promised to reach out to those in Lincoln County, from whom he received no votes.
Specifically, Carney told the Times-News he plans to conduct â€œoffice hoursâ€ and to meet with members of the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners to discuss their concerns for the region. He stressed that creating jobs and planning for the future would be his priorities.
Wayne King, vice chair of the N.C. Republican Party, added that Carney would be an â€œable representative for this area.â€
â€œI look forward to working with him,â€ King said.
King also emphasized that it would be important for the party to present a strong, united front moving into 2012. He likewise stressed the importance of economic development and putting people back to work.
Putnam released a statement Tuesday morning regarding Carneyâ€™s being chosen to fill Forresterâ€™s seat for the remainder of his term in the Senate.
â€œI believe Mr. Carney will serve the citizens of Lincoln County with the utmost consideration and understands that Lincoln County is a large part of his district,â€ he said. â€œMr. Carney will be an asset to the district and also brings a pro-business approach, which is needed.â€