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Turnout brisk in Currituck for primary

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State Sen. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, a supporter of Clark Twiddy, a Republican candidate for state Senate in District 1, greets voters at the Moyock precinct Tuesday. On right, Currituck Commissioner Marion Gilbert, who is seeking re-election to her District 5 seat, campaigns on the right.

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By William F. West
Staff Writer

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

CURRITUCK — Turnout for today’s primary election in Currituck was brisk as Republican voters were deciding not only a sheriff’s race and two county commissioner contests, but also helping decide who will be the region’s next congressman and their party’s nominee for state Senate and state House.

As of 4 p.m., 1,650 voters had cast ballots. That’s in addition to the 955 who voted early. Voting continues until 7:30 p.m. when polls close statewide.

Among those out greeting voters as they arrived at the polls at the Moyock precinct was state Sen. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, who is supporting Clark Twiddy, a Dare County businessman vying with state Rep. Bob Steinburg to succeed Cook in the newly drawn 1st Senate District. Currituck is one of 11 counties in the new district.

Moyock voter Michael Carter, 48, said he voted for Twiddy in the Senate primary, but noted he had to do the best he could choosing a candidate after viewing the campaign materials of Twiddy and Steinburg.

Carter said he voted for Matt 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.

As for the rest of the contests on the ballot, Carter said he voted for Bobby Hanig, the chairman of the Currituck Board of Commissioners in his race against incumbent Beverly Boswell in the state House District 6 race. Carter said he voted for Hanig because he had a chance to speak with him and found him quite personable.

“I also think he really cares about this area,” Carter said.

As for the race between incumbent U.S. Rep. Walter Jones and his two challengers, Scott Dacey and Phil Law, in the 3rd Congressional District primary, Carter said, “Oh, that was an easy one.” He said he voted for Dacey.

Carter, who was wearing a red-and-white “Make America great again” cap in support of President Trump, said he has written Jones about the congressman’s votes. He said what particularly had turned him off about Jones was the congressman vote against the tax cut bill Trump had championed.

“He says that the tax cut was going to raise the deficit. He has been in Congress for a long time, but it’s the spending that’s causing the deficit, not letting people keep their own money,” Carter said.

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 contests.

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