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CoastLine Candidate Interviews: NC Senate District 8

Katelyn Freund

North Carolina Senate District 8 covers 100% of Brunswick, Bladen, and Pender Counties.  Also included in Senate District 8 is a tiny part – 2.6% -- of New Hanover County.  The New Hanover County portion runs from Wooster Street to 5th Street, then it cuts east on Nun Street for about four blocks, then north on 8th Street for two blocks.  At that point, North Carolina Senate District 8 turns east on Orange for one block, then north again on 9th Street for two blocks.  That’s the description of the westernmost boundary of the district in New Hanover County.

The other boundaries include South 17th Street, the railroad tracks, and Greenfield Street.  That portion of downtown Wilmington, is 77% percent black, 18% white, and fully 70% of registered voters are Democrats.  Republicans make up only 8% of that bloc.  Compare that to New Hanover County as a whole and you find a much more diversified politcal profile where just 31% of voters are registered as Democrats, 31% Republicans, and the majority, 37%, are unaffiliated. 

Looking at the three other counties which are wholly included in Senate District 8, Pender County is about 31% Democrat, 31% unaffiliated and the majority, 38%, are registered Republicans. 

Brunswick County also boasts a Republican majority at 37%.  Unaffiliated voters are the second largest bloc, and Democrats come in third – at 27%. 

Bladen County is different.  There, 54% of registered voters are Democrats.  17% are Republicans, and 28% are unaffiliated.  In 2016, that county chose Donald Trump for President and the Democratic candidate J. Wesley Casteen, for Congress, who lost his bid for NC Congressional District 7 to Republican incumbent David Rouzer.

Registered Libertarians are a predictably sparse lot across Senate District 8.  There are 40 of them in Bladen County – amounting to a fraction of a percentage point.  In all four counties they make up a fraction of a percentage point, and in the two precints of New Hanover that are part of Senate District 8, there are five white people registered as Libertarians.

The seat is currently held by Brunswick County Republican Bill Rabon, who is seeking his fifth term this year.  He declined our invitation to appear.  His legislative assistant tell us his schedule is full.

Candidates for Senate District 8

Anthony Mascolo, Libertarian:

Anthony Mascolo, the Libertarian candidate for Senate District 8, was born in New York City and raised on Long Island.  He worked for the New York City Transit Police Department starting 1980.  He reached the rank of Lieutenant before retirement.   He moved to Brunswick County five years ago and married a classmate from high school.   He is the current Chair of the Libertarian Party of Brunswick County.

In the May primary, Mascolo beat his Libertarian challenger, Randy Crow, by 15 votes.  That might sound like a small margin, but it equates to sixteen-and-a-half percentage points.  For more perspective, 53 people voted for Mascolo.  38 voted for Crow.

Listen to Anthony Mascolo here.

David Sink, Jr., Democrat:

David Sink, Junior is the Democratic candidate for Senate District 8 – challenging incumbent Republican Bill Rabon.  David Sink says he’s a native of Lexington, North Carolina and served 31 years in the North Carolina Community College System as President of two colleges: Roanoke Chowan for five years and Blue Ridge for 20 years.  He holds a doctorate from Virginia Tech and served as a Vietnam Era Combat Engineer.  He is a member of the Leland Rotary Club. 

David Sink faced no primary challenger.  

Listen to David Sink here.

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.
Rachel is a graduate of UNCW's Master of Public Administration program, specializing in Urban and Regional Policy and Planning. She also received a Master of Education and two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and French Language & Literature from NC State University. She served as WHQR's News Fellow from 2017-2019. Contact her by email: rkeith@whqr.org or on Twitter @RachelKWHQR