Michael Basnight wins seat on Manteo Board of Commissioners

By on December 7, 2023

Michael Basnight is sworn in as the newest Manteo Commissioner on Dec. 6.

After a relatively brief discussion and a decision to make the appointment that night, the Manteo Board of Commissioners selected Michael Basnight to fill a vacant seat on the board by a narrow 3-2 margin over Jason Borland at its Dec. 6 meeting. The seat opened up when Commissioner Sherry Wickstrom ousted incumbent Bobby Owens in the mayor’s race in the November 2023 municipal elections.

Basnight is co-owner and managing partner of the iconic Pioneer Theater, which his team purchased from Buddy Creef back in Feb. 2023 for $500,000. Since then, he has turned the renovated facility into a more full-service and ambitious entertainment venue featuring films, music, dramatic performances and an athletic awards banquet and has assumed a larger public profile.

Borland, who previously served on the Manteo Board of Commissioners and stepped down in 2022, failed to win a seat on that body in the November 2023 local elections. He finished with about 13% of the vote behind Tod Clissold, Betty Selby and Hannah Forslund.

In the moments leading up to the Dec. 6 vote between the two nominees, the commissioners each weighed in with their preference.

Ruth Stetson cited the fact that Borland ran in the recent election in explaining her support for him, noting that, “in an election cycle, we should, I think, honor the votes of the people.”

Forslund expressed a similar view, noting that Borland had been part of the election process, asserting that many voters believed he would win the fourth seat on the board of commissioners if Wickstrom defeated Owens and “people cast their ballots knowing there would be four [seats].”

Selby expressed her support for Basnight as did Clissold, who stated that “I want to bring somebody who’s going to bring something to the table. I want a do-er.”

Incumbent Eddie Mann was less definitive in his remarks, noting that “we have two good names that are nominated.” But he ended voting for Basnight, helping create that winning 3-2 margin.

After being sworn in at the Dec. 6 meeting, Basnight quickly took his seat with the rest of the commissioners up on the podium. His term will expire in December 2025.


  • Dave Crownover

    In Manteo we are fortunate to have so many good people who are willing to serve, working together to preserve our quality of life.

    Thursday, Dec 7 @ 11:24 pm
  • Jay

    Basnight is a very familiar name and I hope he has great success with the Pioneer Theater.
    Mark J was there any accounting of how the $12,000.000. was spent? If not do you know when a discussion of the $12M is scheduled to occur?

    Mark J thanks for keeping us informed.

    Friday, Dec 8 @ 12:24 pm
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    Hi Jay, I will track down the $12 million question.

    Friday, Dec 8 @ 6:17 pm
  • R Bo

    I see nothing in this article about $12 mil. Please explain

    Saturday, Dec 9 @ 2:24 pm
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    Not sure what you are referring to. The $12 million is money Dare County had set aside for the Woda Cooper company to build affordable/workforce housing in Dare County. It has nothing to do with Michael Basnight being appointed to the Manteo Board of Commissioners.

    Saturday, Dec 9 @ 3:02 pm