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Beickert wins bid for Currituck sheriff' Gilbert, Hall lose to Etheridge, McCord

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Currituck Chief Deputy Sheriff Matt Beickert (left), a candidate for Currituck sheriff, is shown with supporters Currituck Superior Court Clerk Ray Matusko and Jaymes Holden outside the Moyock polling precinct Tuesday.

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From staff reports

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

CURRITUCK — Two current Currituck commissioners lost their bids for re-election on Tuesday to former commissioners.

Matt Beickert, meanwhile, won his Republican primary for sheriff, putting him on the path to becoming the county’s next top law enforcement official.

Commissioner Marion Gilbert lost her bid for a third term in District 5 to former Commissioner Owen Etheridge, while At-large Commissioner Mike Hall lost his bid for a second term to Kevin McCord, a detective with the Currituck Sheriff’s Office and a former commissioner. 

With all precincts reporting in the sheriff’s race, Beickert soundly defeated Bob Douros, 2,275 votes or 77 percent to Douros’ 676 votes or 22.9 percent. Beickert carried all 11 of Currituck’s precincts.

No Democrat filed for the race, so barring a write-in candidacy, Beickert will become Currituck’s new sheriff following the November election. Incumbent Democrat Susan Johnson, who endorsed Beickert, did not seek re-election.

In the District 5 race, Etheridge, who has served two previous stints on the commission board, collected 1,059 votes, while Gilbert garnered 901 votes and Whiteman finished with 886 votes. Etheridge finished with 37.2 percent of the vote to Gilbert’s 31.66 percent and Whiteman’s 31.13 percent.

Etheridge carried only five of the 11 precincts and was tied with Gilbert in one precinct. Given that no Democrat filed for the race, Etheridge will replace Gilbert on the county’s seven-member board when her term expires in December.

In the at-large race, McCord collected 1,730 votes or 59.5 percent to Hall’s 1,178 votes or 40.5 percent. McCord carried nine of Currituck’s 11 precincts, losing only in Powells Point and Whalehead. He will now take on Democrat Joe Payne in the general election.   

Beickert seemed the clear choice for sheriff among most voters interviewed outside Currituck polling stations on Tuesday.  

Moyock voter Michael Carter, 48, said he voted for Beickert for Currituck sheriff because of Beickert’s experience and because Beickert is the Sheriff’s Office’s chief deputy.

“He’s also around my age, so I also wanted somebody young,” he said.

Beickert is bidding along with Academi training instructor Bob Douros to succeed Susan Johnson, the county’s longtime Democratic sheriff who did not seek re-election. No Democrat sought the office, so the winner will likely be the county’s next sheriff.

In the District 5 contest for county commissioner, Carter said he voted for incumbent Marion Gilbert. He did so, he said, because he has heard of her and what he’s heard has been good.

In the at-large contest for county commissioner, Carter said he voted for incumbent Mike Hall because he said he believes challenger Kevin McCord, a former commissioner, has got a lot of other things going on, among them his landscaping business.

“Too many irons in the fire,” Carter said of McCord.

Another Moyock voter, 18-year-old Vincent Rice, said he was voting for the first time.

A student at J.P. Knapp Early College and College of The Albemarle, Rice voted for Douros in the sheriff’s race, saying he considers Douros to be an old friend and supports what he stands for, as well as Douros’ values.

“He’s kind of more of a people person, rather than thinking that he’s above everyone else,” Rice said. “He’s more down to earth. I think he’ll make a pretty honest sheriff.”

Rice said he voted for Hall in the at-large commissioner race because Hall is also a friend and because, like Douros, he considers the incumbent to be a people person.

Hall said he didn’t have any preferences in the other contests.

One woman said she voted for Beickert for sheriff and McCord for commissioner at-large.

Of Beickert, the voter said, “I’d had never met him until today, but a lot of people that I respect were pulling for him and backed him. And so he got my vote for that reason.”

She said she cast her ballot for McCord because she knows him, knows he’s active in the community and knows he cares for the county.

“So, I trust him.” she said. “And I think he’ll do just great things for our county.”

The woman said she passed on choosing a candidate in the District 5 race because she didn’t know any of them well enough. She also said she didn’t have any preferences in the other.

At the polling station at Moyock Elementary, Wolf Secrest, 78 and who’s retired, said he voted for Beickert for sheriff “because I think he has been running the sheriff’s department for many years anyway.”

Asked what kind of sheriff he believes Beickert is going to be, Secrest said, “Same as he is right now (as chief deputy), real good.”

As for the contest for at-large commissioner, Secrest said voted for McCord.

“He was in before and he did a good job,” Secrest said. “He listened to the people – and he went along with them.”

As for the contest for District 5 commissioner, Secrest said he voted for Gilbert.

“She has been in office long enough to know what she’s doing – and she does a good job. She also listens to the people,” Secrest said.

As for the contest for sheriff, the woman said she voted for Beickert on the advice of one of her husband’s good friends, who works for the sheriff’s office.

The woman said she voted for McCord in the at-large commission contest.

“He has been a family friend for a very long time,” the woman said.

In the District 5 commission contest, she said she cast her ballot for Whiteman because he’s both a family friend and because he and her family live in the Eagle Creek residential area, where he has been a leader.

“Hopefully he’ll be a good one (on the county commission),” the woman said. “I mean, he seems very hard-working for the people of Eagle Creek. So, I think he might make a change.”

Another woman, who also voted at Moyock Elementary, expressed her preference for Whiteman for the District 5 commission position because she has known him for many years, because he is an “all-around good guy” and also because she lives in the Eagle Creek area.

“He’s done a lot of good for us as a family, personally,” the woman said, adding she believes Whiteman has the best interests of the upper part of Currituck in mind.

“I just think he’s going to do a lot for us up in this part of the county,” she said.

As for the commissioner at-large contest, she said voted for McCord because she has known him personally.

“And I just know him to be a good guy – and I think he’ll do a good job,” she said.

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