By Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice on November 5, 2019
Dare County Board of Education Member Ben Sproul cruised to a relatively easy victory over Anne Petera in the one contested mayoral race in Dare County on Tuesday Nov. 5 while his allies captured the two seats up for grabs on the Kill Devil Hills Board of Commissioners.’
According to the unofficial results from the North Carolina State Board of Elections, Sproul, who was endorsed by retiring Mayor Sheila Davies, won by about 300 votes – garnering 808 to Petera’s 518. Petera lost a hard-fought race for an at-large seat on the Dare County Board of Commissioners last year.
Aside from Sproul, long-time Surfrider Foundation official Ivy Ingram (774 votes) and attorney BJ McAvoy (767 votes) captured the two seats in play on the board of commissioners. The three candidates ran as allies and were distinguished by their identical green and blue campaign signs often placed in close proximity to each other.
Incumbent Skip Jones, who was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Kill Devil Hills Board of Commissioners last December, was the third-place finisher with 647 votes and newcomer Dillon Heikins was further back with 279 votes.
Next door in Nags Head, former Police Chief Kevin Brinkley was the top vote getter in a contest for the board of commissioners that featured three people competing for two seats. Brinkley, according to the unofficial returns, garnered 581 votes, followed by 533 for long-time incumbent Rene Cahoon (533 votes) who retained her seat. Keith Sawyer, body shop manager for Ron & Phil’s and an independent claims adjuster, lost his bid for a seat with 241 votes.
In three of the Dare County municipalities, some incumbents lost their seats in the Nov. 5 balloting.
In Southern Shores, where town politics tend to be feistier than in other towns, two newcomers topped the voting for three available seats on the town council. Local general contractor Matthew Neal led with 896 votes, followed closely by Southern Shores Planning Board Chair Elizabeth Morey with 885 votes. Leo Holland, who chose to retire from the council in the last election cycle, made a successful comeback with 625 votes.
The candidate not returned to the council is incumbent Fred Newbury, who received 508 votes. In the current council, Newbury and fellow Council Member Gary McDonald often voted on the same side in opposition to another group led by Mayor Tom Bennett. McDonald chose not to run in this year’s election.
In Manteo, incumbent Mayor Bobby Owens went unchallenged, receiving 266 votes. But the race for the Manteo Board of Commissioners featured five candidates running for three seats.
The ballot was topped by Betty Govan Selby (216 votes), the Business Operations Manager for Dare County Schools and a newcomer to politics. She was followed by incumbents Darrell Collins (182) and Hannon Fry (154). But Fry is trailed very closely by Jason Borland (152), a financial advisor for Edward Jones who moved to Manteo two years ago, so that spot may still be up for grabs. The Manteo incumbent who clearly went down to defeat was Nancy Peele (121 votes.)
The most crowded local race was in Duck where nine candidates ran for five seats on the town council and two incumbents went down to defeat.Thetop three finishers were all incumbents — Monica Thibodeau (167 votes), Nancy Caviness (164 votes), and current Mayor Don Kingston (157 votes).
The winners in the battle for the next two seats were challengers, Duck Planning Board Member Sandy Whitman (147) and former NYC Police officer Rob Mooney (140).
Those candidates who were defeated included incumbents Jon Britt (123) and Chuck Burdick (98). Marc Murray (99) and Ben Vorndran (98) also failed to win seats.
The one town without a competitive race was Kitty Hawk where David Hines received 223 votes and incumbent Lynn McClean received 185. They were the only candidates running for the two seats on the town council. Tina Tice, who was appointed last December to replace newly elected Dare County Commissioner Ervin Bateman, choose not to run again.
According to the State Elections Board, overall turnout for the off-year municipal elections in Dare County was at 26%.
Click here for link to election results NC SBE Contest Results