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Rivenbark, Hays, and Barfield hold top spots in tight New Hanover commissioner race

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While the jockeying for first, second, and third place went back and forth, it was the same three names at the top of the results for New Hanover County's Board of Commissioners race throughout the night. WHQR's Ben Schachtman recaps the results.

With all precincts reporting, Republican candidates Bill Rivenbark and Deb Hays, and Democratic incumbent Jonathan Barfield, Jr. are holding the three top spots in the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners race.

Rivenbark, who is currently halfway through a term on the Board of Education, cited the need to strengthen ties between that board and the commissioners.

Rivenbark: “If you've never been on the board of education, you don't understand the importance of the relationship between the two and we're going to have a lot of new people on there." 

During his campaign, Barfield harkened back to a non-partisan era on the board.

Barfield: "We just got the work done… I became chair my third year on the board on a majority Republican board. And we never really talked about the partisan aspect of things as I find that most of the issues that we deal with at this level really aren't Republican or Democrat issues. They’re people issues.”

Deb Hays, who has served on Wilmington’s planning commission, discussed the importance of affordable housing.

Hays: "Affordable housing has become a buzzword and it should not. It's serious. It's real --- We establish a program whereby we give 10% off in their rent.  That may not sound like a lot, but that can make the difference between somebody being able to live there and somebody not being able to live there."

If the race remains close, recounts are possible. Ben Schachtman, WHQR News.

Note: Absentee ballots postmarked on or before Election Day are still being accepted until November 12, and the tallies won't be official until approved by the board of election.