HIGH POINT — After two years of harsh criticism of school policies, particularly in connection to the COVID-19 pandemic, most incumbents running for reelection to seats on the Guilford, Davidson and Randolph County school boards appeared to be headed for reelection Tuesday night.
In the race for the Guilford County Board of Education, Republicans appeared to have a chance to pick up a seat. Four Republicans were running on a common platform critical of the board’s Democratic majority and of Guilford County Schools administrators.
In District 2, Republican Crissy Pratt led with 10,988 votes to Democrat Amanda Cook’s 7,924 with nearly 76% of the votes reported at The Enterprise’s deadline. The seat currently is held by longtime Republican board member Anita Sharpe, who isn’t seeking reelection. The district covers western and northwestern High Point.
In District 4, incumbent Republican Linda Welborn had a narrow lead, with 11,940 votes to Democrat Deon Clark’s 11,279. The district covers parts of Greensboro and northern Guilford County.
In District 6, incumbent Democrat Khem Irby had 9,619, and Republican Tim Andrew had 8,359. The district covers north High Point and southwestern Guilford County.
In the race for the only countywide at-large seat, Democrat Alan Sherouse had 89,187 and Republican Demetria Carter had 69,817. The seat currently is held by Democrat Winston McGregor, who isn’t seeking reelection.
Incumbent Democrat Deena Hayes-Greene had no opponent on the ballot in District 8, a Greensboro district.
Democrats currently hold a 6-3 advantage on the school board.
In Davidson County, the heated criticism leveled at members of the Davidson County Board of Education did not appear to translate into votes Tuesday night, with the two incumbents in the race in the top three in voting in complete but unofficial returns.
Nick Jarvis and incumbent Ashley Carroll won the two seats on the board that were up for election, Jarvis with 19,362 and Carroll with 18,215.
Incumbent Neal Motsinger lost his bid for reelection, finishing third out of the seven candidates, with 12,940 votes, nearly 2,000 more than the fourth-place finisher.
Among the five challengers in the race were some of the harshest critics of policies including COVID-19 restrictions and allowing libraries to have materials that reference gender and sexuality, some addressing transgender issues.
Fred Burgess, the only incumbent in the race for three seats on the Randolph County Board of Education, won reelection, coming in third with 20,157 votes, according to complete but unofficial returns.
The top vote-getter was Shannon Whitaker with 24,131 votes. Phillip Lanier came in second with 21,915.
TRIAD — Democrats on the Guilford County Board of Commissioners appeared poised to maintain control of the board based on returns from Tuesday’s general election.
Longtime Democratic Guilford County Commissioner Kay Cashion was leading Republican challenger and former commissioner Alan Branson in the race for the lone at-large countywide seat. With 95 of 165 precincts reporting, Cashion had 87,269 votes, or 60.5%, to Branson’s 57,068, or 39.5%.
Democratic Board Vice Chairwoman Carlvena Foster was unopposed and Democratic District 7 Commissioner Frankie Jones Jr. was leading his race in parts of Greensboro and Pleasant Garden with 80% of the vote. That would leave Democrats with at least six seats on the nine-member board, the total they had going into this year’s election.
Republican Commissioner Alan Perdue was ahead of Democratic challenger Paul Meinhart in District 2 covering parts of western High Point. With 10 of 24 precincts reporting, Perdue had 9,150 votes, or 57%, to Meinhart’s 6,806 votes, or 43%.
The other Guilford County Board of Commissioners race was to replace retiring GOP Commissioner Justin Conrad in District 3 that covers parts of Greensboro and outlying Guilford County. With early returns in, Democrat Derek Mobley and Republican Pat Tillman, who serves on the school board, were in a close race, according to unofficial returns from the Guilford County Board of Elections.
In Randolph County, Republican Commissioner Hope Haywood was far ahead of Democratic challenger Kimberly Walker in the only contested Randolph County Board of Commissioners race in District 4. With 16 of 22 precincts reporting, Haywood had 34,036 votes, or 82%, to Walker’s 7,676, or 18%.
In Davidson County, where all commissioner seats are at-large and countywide, the Republican candidates were sweeping all four seats being decided by voters.
Commissioners Karen Watford, Steve Shell and Chris Elliott and challenger Matt Mizell were defeating the lone Democratic challenger Tonya Lanier.
With seven of 43 precincts reporting, Watford had 27,841 votes, or 23%. Narrowly behind was Elliott with 27,629, also 23%. Shell had 27,187 votes, or 22.5% followed closely by Mizell with 24,148, also 22.5%. Lanier was running a distant fifth with 10,720 votes, or 9%.
Mizell would replace GOP Commissioner Don Truell, who didn’t advance from the May primary.
All the seats on the board of commissioners in Randolph and Davidson counties are held by Republicans.
TRIAD — Longtime Rep. John Faircloth, R-Guilford, was won a close race late Tuesday night against Democratic challenger Brandon Gray in a rematch of their state House race from 2020.
With all 29 precincts reporting, Faircloth had 20,304 votes, or 52% to Gray’s 18,498 votes, or 48% in the 62nd House District that includes parts of High Point.
Faircloth, a retired High Point Police Department chief and former city councilman, is one of the most powerful members of the Piedmont Triad legislative delegation as a co-chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. Gray is a small business owner from Oak Ridge.
Another local House race wasn’t as competitive. Rep. Cecil Brockman, D-Guilford, was soundly beating Republican challenger Bob Blasingame of Jamestown in the 60th House District that covers parts of High Point. With nine of 30 precincts reporting, Brockman had 9,855 votes, or 63%, to Blasingame’s 5,954 votes, or 37%.
Faircloth and Brockman are the only two High Point residents in the 170-member N.C. General Assembly.
Sen. Michael Garrett, D-Guilford, was leading Republican challenger Richard “Josh” Sessoms in the redrawn 27th Senate District that covers most of High Point. With 29 of 65 precincts reporting, Garrett had 27,263 votes, or 56%, to Sessoms’ 21,062 votes, or 44%, based on unofficial returns from the Guilford County Board of Elections.
In an area open seat contest, Republican Brian Biggs, vice chairman of the Randolph County Board of Education, was on his way to defeating Democrat Susie Scott in the 70th House District that covers northern Randolph County. With two of 12 precincts reporting, Biggs had 14,736 votes, or 78%, to Scott’s 4,194 votes, of 22%
Biggs would succeed longtime Rep. Pat Hurley, R-Randolph, whom Biggs defeated in the GOP primary this past May.
Rep. Sam Watford, R-Davidson, was on his way to defeating Democratic challenger Dennis S. Miller in the 80th House District that covers eastern Davidson County.
With four of 22 precincts reporting, Watford had 13,535 votes, or 76%, to Miller’s 4,225 votes, or 24%. Miller didn’t actively campaign because after the candidate filing period ended this past March he took a job with a state government agency.
Rep. Larry Potts, R-Davidson, was beating Democratic challenger Joe Watkins in the 81st House District that covers western Davidson County. With three of 21 precincts reporting, Potts had 13,280 votes, or 73%, to Watkins’ 4,980 votes, or 27%.
Sen. Dave Craven, R-Randolph, was outdistancing Democratic challenger Brooke Crump in a redrawn 29th Senate District that covers most of Randolph County. With 17 of 62 precincts reporting, Craven had 32,964 votes, or 71%, to Crump’s 12,987, or 29%.
Sen. Steve Jarvis, R-Davidson, was beating Democratic challenger Monique Johnson in the 30th Senate District redrawn to cover all of Davidson and Davie counties. With seven of 57 precincts reporting, Jarvis had 26,949 votes, or 75%, to Johnson’s 9,128, or 25%.
TRIAD — Guilford County Sheriff Danny Rogers held a consistent lead in early returns Tuesday in his bid to win reelection to a second term in office.
With more than half of the county’s 165 precincts reporting results at press time, Rogers was holding steady with about 58% of the vote over challenger Phil Byrd, with a lead of almost 24,000 votes.
During the campaign, Rogers ran on his record, touting a drop in crime rates, as well as the work of his officers getting illegal firearms and drugs off the street during his term.
He pointed to accomplishments on the non-law enforcement side as well over the past four years, such as agency accreditation, the creation of a community resource unit and diversifying the workforce of his department.
Byrd, who worked for the sheriff’s office for 30 years before retiring as a captain, ran a reform campaign that sought to highlight what he characterized as a leadership void in the department, with low morale and high numbers of vacancies in the ranks of detention officers at the two county jails and on the operations side among the deputies who patrol the streets.
In Randolph County, first-term Republican Sheriff Greg Seabolt easily won reelection, with more than 80% of the vote over Democratic challenger Sean Walker.
In the campaign, Seabolt touted his record of lowering crime, boosting morale, reorganizing the department to improve response times to calls and improving community outreach to residents.
First-term Davidson County Sheriff Richie Simmons did not face an opponent in Tuesday’s election.