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CAPE FEAR MEMORIAL BRIDGE: Updates, resources, and context

Election 2022: Incumbent Zapple, former Carolina Beach Mayor Pierce win NHC commissioner race

New Hanover County’s commission is keeping some old blood and adding some new, but the major theme is fiscal responsibility and experience.

Incumbent Democrat Rob Zapple is keeping his seat on New Hanover County Commission — he won second place with just under 26% of the vote.

But the top vote-getter in the race was LeAnn Pierce: a moderate conservative from Carolina Beach, where she served as councilmember and mayor. Both candidates ran on their experience, clear understanding of the issues, and fiscal responsibility. At her celebration on election night, she expressed gratitude for the voters.

“So, top of mind, I'm really interested in making sure that New Hanover County citizens understand that they can trust their elected officials and, you know, I want to go out to the northern part of the county and talk to folks and make sure they understand that we're here to listen to their concerns," she said.

The northern end of the county is set to see major development in the coming years, so that outreach could go a long way to smooth things over and keep the community engaged.

The other two candidates were Tom Toby (R), a former firefighter and populist who opposed dense development, and Travis Robinson (D), a former law enforcement officer who supported public transportation.

Pierce will replace current Chair Julia Olson-Boseman (although not necessarily as chair — the board will vote on that in December). Her arrival will maintain a 3-2 Republican majority; Olson-Boseman switched parties earlier this year in the midst of a spate of controversies, so Pierce’s seat will create a more clear Republican majority after the chair steps down.

Note of disclosure: Commissioner Rob Zapple is a member of WHQR's board, but he does not have any influence on editorial decisions.

Kelly Kenoyer is an Oregonian transplant on the East Coast. She attended University of Oregon’s School of Journalism as an undergraduate, and later received a Master’s in Journalism from University of Missouri- Columbia. Contact her on Twitter @Kelly_Kenoyer or by email: KKenoyer@whqr.org.