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Hanig, Goodwin, Steinburg capture legislative seats

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Bobby Hanig (left), the Republican candidate in state House District 6, visits with Sharon Messina, a supporter of state Senate District 1 candidate Bob Steinburg, outside the polling station at J.P. Knapp Early College, Tuesday. According to unofficial results, Hanig defeated his Democratic opponent Tess Judge, of Dare County, on Tuesday.

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From staff reports

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Northeastern North Carolina elected state Rep. Bob Steinburg, R-Chowan, its state senator on Tuesday, and also sent two Republicans and one Democrat to the N.C. House of Representatives, based on unofficial results.

With 2,705 of 2,706 of precincts reporting, Steinburg, a three-term House lawmaker, defeated Democrat Cole Phelps, a Washington County commissioner, following a costly and hard-fought campaign for the recently redrawn Senate District 1 seat. Steinburg will succeed Sen. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, who is retiring.

Steinburg collected 39,554 votes to Phelps’ 34,729, or a margin of 53.25 to 46.75 percent.

In House District 6, Currituck Board of Commissioners Chairman Bobby Hanig, a Republican, defeated Democrat Tess Judge, of Dare, 18,437 votes to 15,045, or 55 percent to 44.93 percent. Hanig will succeed state Rep. Beverly Boswell, R-Dare, in the seat, whom he defeated in a May primary, and represent Currituck, Dare, Hyde and Pamlico counties.

In House District 1, former Chowan County Chairman and Ferry Division director Ed Goodwin, a Republican, defeated his Democratic opponent Ron Wesson, a Bertie County commissioner.

Goodwin had 14,649 votes to Wesson’s 12,927, or 53.12 percent to 46.88 percent. That was with 2,705 of 2,706 precincts reporting. Goodwin will replace Steinburg in the seat, which has been redrawn to include Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Perquimans, Tyrrell and Washington counties.

State Rep. Howard Hunter III, D-Hertford, also won re-election after facing nominal opposition from Phillip Smith, a Gates County Republican, winning 59.9 percent of the vote to Smith’s 40.1 percent. Those are unofficial but complete results.

In Pasquotank County, voters were often focused more on local races than the Senate race. Several voters told The Daily Advance they voted straight-ticket, but couldn’t elaborate why they chose Steinburg or Phelps.

Pasquotank voter Barbara Bright, however, said she voted for Steinburg not only because he was a Republican but because of his candor and dedication.

“What he says is what he believes,” Bright said, adding that she felt Steinburg was concerned about northeastern North Carolina, and worked to give it more attention than past legislators have.

Chaz Miller, also of Pasquotank, said he instead voted for Phelps, in hopes of bringing new thinking to the region and fostering bipartisanship.

“Both sides need to be represented,” Miller said. “We don’t need extremism in either direction.”

Another Pasquotank voter, Aryah Seymore, said she voted for Phelps as well. As an Elizabeth City State University student, she said she had heard Phelps speak on campus, and followed his social media. She said she supported his approach to health care, including support for expanding Medicaid. Seymore said she works at a pharmacy, and it’s “painful” to see people unable to afford needed medications.

In Currituck, at Moyock Elementary School, Elizabeth Prentice said she researched candidates in advance and voted for Steinburg because of his experience from serving in the House.

Splitting between the parties, Prentice opted for Judge over Hanig, citing her resume as a businesswoman and her community involvement in Dare.

Also at Moyock Elementary, Michael Ertsgaard said he voted for Steinburg "because I'm pretty much a Republican."

"I like my rights, and I like my gun rights," Ertsgaard said, emphasizing he believes the GOP strongly favors the right to bear arms.

Ertsgaard said he also voted for the GOP down the ballot, including for Hanig. 

At J.P. Knapp Early College, Court Caldwell said he voted for Steinburg because he’s met him a few times.

"He seemed to be genuine, honest," Caldwell said.

Caldwell, who works in private security, also said he believes Steinburg is pro-law enforcement. He praised Steinburg as taking a strong stand in the aftermath of the October 2017 escape attempt at Pasquotank Correctional Institution that resulted in the deaths of four workers there.

"That's a tragedy that shouldn't happen," Caldwell said.

Caldwell said he "really didn't have a strong opinion" of Judge, and so he voted for Hanig as his next House representative.

"Her campaign ads just didn't rub me the right way," he said. Caldwell described himself as a “middle of the road person,” but said it seemed to him that Judge talked too often in generalities.

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