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NHC canvass narrows school board race to two votes, incumbent Nelson Beaulieu weighs recount

On May 27, 2022, the New Hanover County Board of Elections held its canvass, finalizing the vote totals from the primary election.
Benjamin Schachtman
On May 27, 2022, the New Hanover County Board of Elections held its canvass, finalizing the vote totals from the primary election.

On Friday, May 27, the New Hanover County Board of Elections held its canvass — the final tally of votes that has closed the book on all but one race, where two Democratic candidates for school board are separated by just two votes.

On the evening of election night, incumbent Nelson Beaulieu held just a three-vote lead over newcomer Jennah Bosch. The two are running for the last of four positions in the primary behind newcomers Veronica McLaurin-Brown and Dorian Cromartie, and incumbent Judy Justice. Only one candidate won’t move forward to the general election, and it’s been a nail-biter.

On Thursday, the Board of Election approved over a hundred additional absentee and provisional ballots, and the new vote totals flipped the last place positions — with Bosch ahead of Beaulieu, again by just three votes. Then, during today’s canvass, one additional ballot was approved, narrowing Bosch’s lead to two votes. 

Now it’s up to Beaulieu. He has until Tuesday, May 31st, at 5 p.m. to request a recount. The incumbent told WHQR he would take a few days to make the decision. Like many who have found themselves in his position in the past, Beaulieu said he thinks he may owe it to voters to ask for the recount given how close the race is.

Meanwhile, Bosch said the last two weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster, but she remains hopeful — and proud of the campaign she’s run so far.

“I’m optimistically hopeful — Nelson, absolutely, should recount I mean, two votes, you know, are two votes. I'm just very happy that I've been able to get out my message about mental health. I think it's very important. Win, lose, or draw, that is the main goal. But you know, I'm looking towards the finish line, I'm looking towards the general, I really think I have a lot to offer. I think that I would work well with the board members. And so you know, I've been waiting for two weeks to see what we can do," she said.

Ben Schachtman is a journalist and editor with a focus on local government accountability. He began reporting for Port City Daily in the Wilmington area in 2016 and took over as managing editor there in 2018. He’s a graduate of Rutgers College and later received his MA from NYU and his PhD from SUNY-Stony Brook, both in English Literature. He loves spending time with his wife and playing rock'n'roll very loudly. You can reach him at BSchachtman@whqr.org and find him on Twitter @Ben_Schachtman.