Woody win highlights GOP strength in Dare County

By on November 4, 2020

From left to right: Bob Steinburg, Bobby Hanig, Bob Woodard and Steve House.

Back in 2016, when Dare County Board of Education campaigns were non-partisan events, Bea Basnight cruised to victory, running unopposed.  In 2020 — following state legislation that turned those elections into partisan races — Basnight, a well-respected Democrat who currently chairs the board, was beaten by about 900 votes by Republican challenger Carl Woody II.

In a sign of the potency of the Republican brand here, Basnight, even in losing, performed better than any other Democrat of note in Dare County in this election.

In one race that a number of observers thought could be very close, NC District 1 incumbent Republican Senator Bob Steinburg defeated Democratic challenger Tess Judge with relative ease. In the entire district, which encompasses 11 counties, he defeated her by a solid 55%-45% margin, slightly more comfortable than his 53%-47% margin over Democrat D. Cole Phelps in 2018. And in her home county of Dare, Judge lost to Steinburg, an Edenton resident, by a 54%-46% margin.

Another Dare County Democrat, Southern Shores resident Tommy Fulcher, was defeated easily in the race for the four-county District 6 seat in the N.C. House of Representatives by incumbent Currituck County Republican Bobby Hanig, who won 64-36% district-wide. In doing so, Hanig captured Dare County by a healthy 59%-41% margin.

In the two contested races for the Dare County Board of Commissioners, both Republican incumbents won easily. Bob Woodard, the board’s chairman, turned back a District 2 challenge from Democrat Amanda Hooper by a 60-40% margin. That’s virtually the same size as Woodard’s 59%-41% win over Democrat John Towler in 2016.

In the 2020 District 3 race, incumbent Republican Steve House also won handily, defeating Democrat Kathy McCullough Testa, 60%-40%. That marks a change from 2016 when House defeated a well-known Democrat, Duck Town Council Member Monica Thibodeau, by a narrower 54%-46% margin in the race for an open seat.

From left to right: David Twiddy, Susan Bothwell and Carl Woody II.

It was a Republican sweep in the three contested Dare County Board of Education races. Aside from Basnight losing to Woody, Republican Susan Bothwell enjoyed a significant win – 56%-44% — over Democrat Jen Alexander in the open District 2 Board of Education seat. Alexander’s 2018 contest against incumbent Republican Joe Tauber was a considerably closer affair, as she lost then by five percentage points.

In the third Dare Board of Education race, incumbent Republican David Twiddy easily withstood the challenge of Democrat Charles Parker, winning 62%-38%.

At the statewide level, Democratic Governor Roy Cooper won with a somewhat closer-than-expected 52%-47% margin over Republican Dan Forest. In Dare County, however, Forest rolled up a 55%-44% win, with Cooper slightly outperforming some of the local Dare Democrats.

The U.S. Senate race between Republican incumbent Thom Tillis and Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham currently shows Tillis with a margin of slightly less than two percentage points statewide. But he carried Dare County by a much healthier 57%-40% margin. That is virtually identical to the 56%-40% margin he amassed in the county in 2014 when Tillis barely unseated incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan by about 50,000 votes statewide.

Finally, in the presidential battle, Republican incumbent Donald Trump is currently maintaining about a 1.5% lead statewide over his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden. In Dare County, Trump rolled to a much bigger win, 58%-41%.

Biden actually fared a bit better than Hillary Clinton did in 2016 when she lost to Trump by about 21 percentage points in Dare County. And he performed virtually the same as incumbent Democrat Barack Obama did against Republican challenger Mitt Romney in 2012, when he lost by 16 percentage points in Dare County.

In 2008, when Obama carried the state of North Carolina against John McCain, by a whisker-thin 14,000 votes, he managed to keep McCain’s margin in Dare County to single digits, losing 54%-45%.





  • 60sSuzanne

    To the new school board:
    I am extremely disgusted with your concerted effort to remove Bea Basnight, a Democrat, from the school board. Just because she is not a Republican.
    I taught in our school system for 30 years and Ms. Basnight was the best school board member we have ever had. I have taught through NUMEROUS board members and Ms. Basnight was the only member who would make a point of going to every school and and seek out teachers to see how we were doing and if we needed anything. I have not seen any other board member do that. And you could talk to her without any fear of retribution.
    Bea Basnight was obviously the most qualified of any of you. The fact that you would work to put her out so you could have an all Republican board is disgusting.
    I have always been taught to vote for the best person, not by party. Couldn’t any Republicans have done that or is your desire to turn everything in the county Republican more important than who the people are that are the best candidates?
    And what is someone from Edenton doing on our board besides the fact she is Republican? I do not expect to hear of her visiting all the schools and the teachers on a regular basis. And how will she ever be able to figure out the little nuances that go with each school? Cape Hatteras High School and First Flight High School have nothing in common.
    School boards should not be partisan positions because it leads to the abuse of a party. In this case, it cost us out most beloved board member of many years.
    So you Republicans got what you wanted. I just hope at least ONE of you are able to replace what we have lost.

    Thursday, Nov 5 @ 1:02 pm
  • Stan Clough

    Congratulations to all the republican candidates in Dare County !
    In memory of George Embry !

    Thursday, Nov 5 @ 3:25 pm
  • Tom W.

    Glad we finally have transparency. We need to know what party we are voting for.

    Saturday, Nov 7 @ 10:04 am
  • Concerned voter

    Ugh! All white old guys and one “Karen” Can we please have some Qualified people and diversity? Maybe next election cycle. The re-districting will be a horror show.
    Totally agree with Suzanne! What are The Populist republican values exactly?

    Sunday, Nov 8 @ 12:10 pm