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Chair Julia Olson-Boseman loses Democratic primary; Republicans Tom Toby and LeAnn Peirce move forward to November

2022 Primary Board of Commissioners.jpg
Ben Schachtman / NHC Board of Elections
From left: Top row, Democrats - Incumbent Rob Zapple, Travis Robinson, and Incumbent Chair Julia Olson-Boseman; Bottom row, Republicans - Tom toby, LeAnne Pierce, Joe Irrera, and Harry Knight

An incumbent Democrat on New Hanover County Commission has been ousted in the primary after Tuesday’s election.

After a year of controversies ranging from questions about her legal practice to investigations into her campaign finance reporting, New Hanover County Board Chair Julia Olson-Boseman has lost the primary to keep her seat.

Incumbent Democrat Rob Zapple is moving forward with the most votes -- 11,118 -- received by any candidate in either primary. Challenger Travis Robinson won second place with 8,048 votes, securing his spot on the ballot in November. At a recent town hall, Zapple said funding the school system is highly important, as is funding non-profits, arts, and culture. He also emphasized stewardship of the limited buildable land in the county.

Zapple said one of his priorities is “managing our growth." He said, "It's terrific growth, we have to find a way to manage it and still maintain our quality of life.”

On the Republican side, former firefighter Tom Toby was the top vote getter with 8,838 votes, closely followed by former Carolina Beach Mayor LeAnn Pierce, who garnered 8,527. Each received more than 30% of the vote, with Joe Irerra and Harry Knight trailing behind, with 23% and 14% of the vote respectively.

During the forum, top vote getter Tom Toby said his main priority is limiting the county’s ability to declare indefinite states of emergency. He also opposes the county’s latest anti-community violence initiative, Port City United, in favor of funding law enforcement — and he wants to limit new development.

“We are continuing to build apartments everywhere. And that is something that a nobody here in New Hanover County wants. Everybody that I've talked to is against anymore.”

Republicans received more than 3,000 more votes than Democratic candidates in that race, indicating, perhaps, more enthusiasm on the Republican side of the ticket. Those trends were similar on the school board race.

Finally, incumbent sheriff Ed McMahon beat his rival, Kelvin Hargrove by a two to one margin. He’ll face Republican challenger Matt Rhodes in November.