Lawson wins nod in second primary

Published 9:45 pm Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tom Payne (right), chairman of the Beaufort County Board of Elections, announces vote totals of the second primary from various precincts while Herman Gaskins (left) takes notes. In the background, Kellie Harris Hopkins, director of the Board of Elections, enters the numbers into a spreadsheet to calculate the totals. (WDN Photo/Sara Cowell)

Mattie Lawson won the hotly contested second primary to determine the Republican nominee to take on Democrat Paul Tine in the general election for the 6th District seat in the N.C. House of Representatives.
Lawson, a Dare County resident, collected 778 votes (59.39 percent) in Beaufort County to Williams’ 532 votes (40.61 percent). Williams, a Beaufort County resident, was the top vote-getter in just three precincts in Beaufort County, Washington’s Ward 1, Tranter’s Creek and Washington Park. Lawson carried the other 12 precincts or parts of precincts in the district.

Lawson collected 250 votes by absentee ballots and early voting. Williams tallied 166 votes by early voting and absentee ballots.
District-wide, Lawson picked up 1,529 votes (67.11 percent) to Williams’ 752 votes (32.89 percent.
Vote totals are unofficial. Ballots will be canvassed by boards of elections throughout the state Tuesday. After canvassing ballots, the boards will certify the primaries’ results.
“I want to thank all the many supporters because this election win was not because of me it was because of the ideas … a group of us had. My supporters have backed me and worked very hard for many months,” Lawson said.
Lawson said she plans to take some time off this summer to rest from a long primaries campaign.
“It won’t be long before we’ll be ramping up, getting back together with my team. I’m hoping the ones who supported me so gallantly in this election will be behind me and support me in the (general) election,” Lawson said.
Bill Tarpenning, a spokesman for the Williams campaign, read this statement during a telephone interview: “We thank all of his friends who worked so hard for him in this election and previous election. We did our best — came up a little short.”
The 6th District includes part of northern Beaufort County and all of Dare, Hyde and Washington counties.
In Dare County, Lawson garnered 635 votes (81.62 percent) to Williams’ 143 votes (18.38 percent)
Lawson collected 62 votes (61.39 percent) in Washington County to Williams’ 39 votes (38.61 percent).
In Hyde County, Lawson tallied 37 votes (57.81 percent) to Williams’ 27 votes (42.19 percent).
Some Beaufort County voters who went to the polls expecting to vote in the Lawson-Williams race were unable to do so because they don’t live in the 6th District. Instead, they live in the 3rd District. Some Beaufort County precincts are split, with parts of them either in the 3rd or 6th districts.
Williams sought and was granted a second primary after Lawson failed to get 40 percent or more of the vote in the May 8 primary.
The State Board of Elections’ website showed Lawson with 2,677 (37.32 percent) votes in that primary, followed by Williams with 2,585 votes 36.04 percent), a difference of 92 votes. Coming in third in the three-way primary race was Jeremy Adams, also a Dare County resident, with 1,911 votes (26.64 percent). Adams was not part of the second primary.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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