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Primary 2022 results: Olson-Boseman loses, McMahon wins, school board results are tight

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Tuesday night's results are not final until the May 27 canvas, which will add absentee ballots and open a brief window for recount challenges.

Voter turnout in this year’s primary election significantly exceeded the last mid-year primary in 2018 (the last primary election with no presidential election to pull additional voters to the polls).

Related: WHQR's 2022 Primary Election coverage

In 2018, voter turnout was 9.86% with 16,363 out of 165,987 registered voters casting a ballot (the state turnout was about 14.4%). This year, with some absentee ballots still to be counted, voter turnout was 17.67% with 30,939 out of 175,101 registered voters casting a ballot (this year’s state turnout was roughly 19.7%)

New Hanover County Board of Commissioners 

New Hanover County Chair Julia Olson-Boseman has lost her bid for reelection in the Democratic primary. She took third place in the race for two Board of Commissioners seats. Four years ago, Olson-Boseman was the top vote-getter in the primary.

Rob ZappleDEM11,11844.9%
Travis C. RobinsonDEM8,04832.5%
Julia Olson-BosemanDEM5,57922.5%

Incumbent Commissioner Rob Zapple was the top vote-getter, with just shy of 45% of the vote, followed by challenger Travis Robinson, with 32.5% of the vote — both will advance to the general election in November as Democratic candidates.

While the primary election results are not final until the May 27 canvas, with all precincts reporting Olson-Boseman trails Robinson by over 2,400 votes, or ten points. That’s a far wider margin than that required for a recount. It’s also considerably more votes than the canvas usually adds to the final tally for absentee mail-in ballots that are postmarked by election day.

In the Republican primary, political newcomer Tom Toby was the top vote-getter with roughly 32% of the vote. He’ll move to the general election along with former Carolina Beach Mayor LeAnn Pierce, who took 30% of the vote.

Tom TobyREP8,83831.5%
LeAnn PierceREP8,52730.4%
Joe IrreraREP6,54023.3%
Harry KnightREP4,11114.6%

GOP Candidates Joe Irrera and Harry Knight took roughly 23% and 15% of the vote, respectively, and will not move on to the general election.

New Hanover County Board of Education

A host of challengers from both parties are advancing to the general election in the New Hanover County Board of Education race after last night’s primary election.

The school board race saw five Republican and five Democratic candidates competing over four spots in each party’s primary.

For the Republicans, Wrightsville Beach Magazine publisher Pat Bradford was the top vote-getter by a narrow margin, followed by Melissa Mason, Josie Barnhart, and incumbent Pete Wildeboer. Challenger Chris Sutton, who fell behind the rest of the pack will not move on.

Pat BradfordREP11,65922.19%
Melissa MasonREP11,57022.02%
Josie BarnhartREP10,56320.10%
Peter C. WildeboerREP10,53420.05%
Chris SuttonREP8,21715.64%

For the Democrats, Veronica McLaurin-Brown, a longtime advocate for ending suspensions for young children, took the top spot, followed by Dorian Cromartie, and incumbents Judy Justice and Nelson Beaulieu.

Veronica McLaurin-BrownDEM11,85226.45%
Dorian CromartieDEM9,45021.09%
Judy JusticeDEM8,91019.89%
Nelson BeaulieuDEM7,29616.29%
Jennah BoschDEM7,29316.28%

Beaulieu defeated fifth-place Jennah Bosch by just 3 votes (or 0.01 points) — well within the range for a recount, and a margin that could easily change when absentee ballots are added to the tally during May 27 canvass, when the vote will be finalized.

New Hanover County Sheriff

Longtime incumbent Democrat Ed McMahon saw a primary challenge for the first time since former Sheriff Sid Causey came out of retirement to challenge him in 2014.

On Tuesday, McMahon defeated retired Wilmington Police Department Captain Kelvin Hargrove by a nearly two-to-one vote. McMahon will face Republican challenger Matt Rhodes in November.

North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District

Four Democratic candidates vied in the primary to take on sitting Congressman David Rouzer, who faced his own primary challenge from libertarian-leaning Max Southworth-Beckwith.

Rouzer won the Republican primary by a nearly four-fold margin. It was his first serious primary challenge since facing down Woody White in 2014.

In the Democratic primary, current North Carolina State Representative Charles Graham took the top spot, followed by Charles E. Evans, Steve Miller, and Yushonda Midgette.

Charles GrahamDEM12,94731.22%
Charles E. EvansDEM12,18929.39%
Steve MillerDEM9,65123.27%
Yushonda MidgetteDEM6,68016.11%

While placing third overall, Wilmington-area resident Steve Miller did take the top spot among New Hanover County voters. North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District covers Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, New Hanover, Pender, and Robeson counties, as well as parts of Cumberland County.

Brunswick County

Brunswick County, which has districted seats for both the Board of Commissioners and the Board of Education, saw three Republican primaries.

Incumbent Commissioner J.M. “Marty” Cooke won in District 2 with 45% of the vote, besting challengers David Robinson and Art Dornfeld.

Incumbent School Board member Robin Moffit defeated Todd Coring with 64% of the vote. Moffit will run against Democrat Bill Flythe in the general election.

In the Board of Education’s District 5, Steve Gainey defeated Randy Fennell in a closer race, winning by just over two points (6,379 votes to 6,088). William F. Woodburn took just over 7% of the vote (988 votes). Gainey will face Democrat Cameron Hankins in November.

Brunswick County's longtime Sheriff John Ingram did not face a challenger.

Pender County

Pender County, like Brunswick, also has districted elections for Board of Commissioners; the county had two Republican primaries. Pender’s current Sheriff, Alan Cutler, also faced two challengers in a Republican Primary.

Cutler took roughly 54% of the vote, defeating primary challengers Mike Sorg and Mike Korn, who took roughly 40% and 4.5% of the vote, respectively.

In County Commissioner District 1, Jimmy Tate defeated Joe Cina roughly 53% to 47%. In District 3, Jerry D. Groves took 63% of the vote to defeat longtime incumbent Commissioner George R. Brown.