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O’Neal claims easy victory

By Staff
Mayor gets support on Belhaven council
BELHAVEN — Incumbent Adam O’Neal was re-elected as mayor with nearly 70 percent of the vote in the hotly contested mayoral election in Belhaven on Tuesday.
Town Council candidates who aligned themselves with O’Neal rode into office on his coattails in what could be viewed as a resounding repudiation of former Mayor Charles O. Boyette, now a councilman, and his allies on the council. The turnout of 674 voters was 56 percent of registered voters in the town.
In the mayoral election, O’Neal tallied 493 votes, Boyette received 181 votes and Rosemarie Balance collected 37 votes.
Ballance said, “I’m glad it’s over; but he’s got his two years to turn this town around. If he doesn’t, I’m coming back.”
In the race for two East End seats on the council, Nelson Guy, who tallied 428 votes, and Mac Pigott, who collected 477 votes, defeated Walt Allen (170 votes), Karen Fisher (121 votes) and incumbent Cynthia Heath (152 votes).
Guy, the town’s mayor from December 1991 to December 1993, said, “I think every one of the candidates here will say the same thing — they just want the town to go forward.”
For the West End seat on the council, Robert Stanley, who garnered 473 votes, defeated incumbent Albert Baker, who tallied 227 votes.
At a post-election celebration, Stanley said, “I’m still excited and looking forward to working for the town. The first thing the council should do is get the utility bills down … find the best way to do it that won’t hurt the people of Belhaven.”
There were two challenges to voters’ eligibility, the first encountered by Kellie Hopkins, Beaufort County elections director, in her nine-year tenure on the job. One challenge was sustained, and the other overruled.
Baker, who served on the council for 12 years, said, “The people have spoken — that’s all.”