Cayton wins judicial race

Published 2:53 am Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Staff Writer

Darrell Cayton Jr. defeated Watsi Sutton in the race to replace retiring District Court Judge Sam Grimes, according to unofficial election results Tuesday night.
Cayton carried four of the five counties in the Second Judicial District. In Beaufort County, he tallied 9,706 votes to Sutton’s 4,560 votes. Sutton carried Washington County with 1,894 votes to Cayton’s 1,882 votes. In Hyde County, Cayton garnered 857 votes to Sutton’s 448 votes. Cayton carried Tyrrell County with 670 votes to Sutton’s 255 votes. In Martin County, Cayton tallied 3,877 votes to Sutton’s 2,869 votes.
Vote totals are unofficial until ballots are canvassed by the board of elections in each of the five counties.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the race,” Cayton said of his apparent victory. “We did a lot of grassroots approach by knocking on doors and met a lot of people. We were more personal that way and really got a chance to really know what the people wanted.
“This was a ‘we’ effort. There was definitely no ‘I’ at all. There was a tremendous amount of people who stepped forward to help out and show their support.”
Cayton believes his experience as an attorney helped him win.
Cayton spoke highly of Sutton. Each lives in Beaufort County.
“I think she ran a good campaign,” he said. “She took a different tactic, where ours was more one-on-one. But she did a very good job. I don’t know her well, but I know she is a very nice lady.”
“Obviously a loss was not what we expected,” Sutton said. “We had a number of people, about 20 to 40, who were dedicated and worked diligently. The news is disappointing, but I believe we fought the good fight. I have been proud that all along we ran a good, clean campaign, expressing my faith and did not go negative on anything or have ‘whisper’ campaigns. But I congratulate Mr. Cayton on the win.”
Cayton was outside the Chocowinity Fire Department for a better part of Election Day as he spoke with voters and listened to their concerns.
“There has been a really good and really steady crowd here today,” Cayton said of the Chocowinity polling place. “Everyone’s been really supportive, and I know a lot of people here.”
Cayton said he sought to become a judge so he could give back to his community.
“I want to give back to the community that taught me the values of faith, family and hard work,” he said. “As a lifelong resident of our district, I understand the needs and concerns of our citizens and families.”
Cayton said serving as a judge will provide an opportunity to help shape the community that shaped him.
“I will always be committed to the community, our values and to being a fair and impartial judge,” he said. “I’ll work to improve our courtrooms by demonstrating my strong work ethic, accountability and accessibility.”
Cayton said by serving as a judge, he will be serving the public.
“I want people to know that the courthouse is here to protect and serve them,” he said. “It truly is an honor to serve as District Court judge in the community that made me who I am today.
“I am committed to affording all citizens, wherever I serve, equal justice and consistent application of our laws. It is important to me to maintain that reputation and a strong work ethic in our courtrooms.”
Cayton’s experience in the practice of law lies primarily within the District Court division of the General Court of Justice.
“I have a strong desire to continue work in that division and believe I can make a valuable contribution to the bench while being fair, courteous and respectful of those individuals who appear before the court,” he said.
“Our community deserves integrity and honor in its courts,” Cayton said. “Judicial integrity is of the utmost importance to everyone now more than ever. All too often corruption, greed and conflicts of interest have become far too prevalent in our government.”
Cayton said he believes every court decision not only decides an outcome between two parties, but it also sets standards for future cases.
“I know that my decisions affect other peoples lives,” he said, “which is why I will closely examine and scrutinize every case to ensure a fair and unbiased judgment.”