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Some Close Races on Primary Night

By Catherine M. Welch

Wilmington, NC – From U.S. Senate to New Hanover County Commissioners, some races last night were pretty tight.

New Hanover County Commissioners
New Hanover County residents thinned the herd of nearly a dozen candidates running for county commissioner, although another primary may be called.

Voters tapped Democrats Deb Butler and Sid Causey with unofficial results showing 39% and 27% of the vote respectively.

On the Republican ballot, Rick Catlin fills the third slot with 28%.

But Bill Caster failed to grab enough votes for the last bid, and Brian Berger could challenge Caster in another primary election.

Democratic candidate Butler says New Hanover County's future growth will be a key issue in the November election.

"We have to decide whether we want to be a manufacturing, polluting type of county or do we want to start embracing new fuel technology, innovative business."

Unofficial results show the quarter-cent sales tax hike passed by less than a thousand votes.

NC House District 18
It was a squeaker in both of the 18th District House races. Unofficial results show Democrat Susi Hamilton beat out James Utley Jr. by 57 votes.

Republican Beth Dawson won over challenger Michael Hutson by 173 votes.

Dawson and Hamilton are running for the seat vacated by Sandra Spaulding Hughes. She inherited the seat from Democrat Thomas Wright, who was expelled from the General during his 8th term.

NC Senate District 9
In the bitter battle between Wilmington attorneys Michael Lee and Thom Goolsby for a chance to run as a Republican in the District 9 State Senate seat, unofficial results show Thom Goolsby beat Michael Lee with 60% of the vote.

Lee says it was a hard fought campaign, but he wants to meet with Goolsby to go over the issues.

"Well I said it during the campaign, I'd like to talk to Thom about what I think the community has talked to me about, about what the important issues are really sit down and talk about those things."

Goolsby will challenge Democrat and former UNCW Chancellor Jim Leutze. Wilmington City Council member Kristi Tomey is working to collect enough signatures to get on the ballot as an unaffiliated candidate.

US House District 7
In the Republican race to challenge Democratic Representative Mike McIntyre, Illario Pantano beat out Will Breazeale with Randy Crow coming in at a distant third.

Unofficial results show Pantano received 51% of the vote, followed by Breazeale's 35%.

McIntyre is a seven-term democrat from Lumberton.

Pantano made national headlines when he shot and killed two Iraqis six years ago and put a sign over their bodies that read "no better friend, no worse enemy."

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