© 2024 254 North Front Street, Suite 300, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 910.343.1640
News Classical 91.3 Wilmington 92.7 Wilmington 96.7 Southport
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Pender County 2024 primary election results show several upsets

A red sign which reads "Polling Place" staked in the lawn in front of the Pender County Hampstead Annex.
Nikolai Mather
One of the Pender County polling location during the 2024 primary elections.

Incumbents Jackie Newton, Phil Cordeiro and Fred McCoy all lost seats on Super Tuesday.

Preliminary results for the 2024 primary elections in Pender County show several upsets.

Incumbent county commissioner Jackie Newton was voted out of the race for District 4 Republican nomination. She came last after Max Southworth-Beckwith, a libertarian-leaning conservative who challenged David Rouzer back in 2022, and Ken Smith, who's currently serving out a term on the Pender County Board of Education.

According to preliminary results, Smith won nearly 47% of the popular vote. Smith has not spoken about his platform with any major media outlets, but has indicated on his Facebook page that he's seeking out more resources for Pender County law enforcement.

Fred McCoy, another incumbent county commissioner, lost to Brent Springer, another member of the school board. Springer secured about 61% of the vote. He did not respond to WHQR's requests for comment, but in an interview with Port City Daily has advocated for a zero-tolerance stance on crime and improving Pender County's infrastructure.

Springer will be up against Demetrice A. Keith in November.

Vote tallies will be finalized at the county canvass on Friday, March 15. Find more of WHQR’s election reporting here.

A group of voters and poll workers talk in the parking lot of the Pender County Hampstead Annex, which served as a polling location for the 2024 primaries.
Nikolai Mather
A group of voters and poll workers talk in the parking lot of the Pender County Hampstead Annex, which served as a polling location for the 2024 primaries.

The school board also saw an upset: Phil Cordeiro, who was appointed in 2023, lost to Tommy Reeves, a hardware store owner. Reeves got 68% of the vote, and did not respond to WHQR's requests for comment.

The only incumbent to keep his seat in Pender County was Brad George, who defeated his challenger Joe Cina. George said he decided to run again because he felt like he still had work to do for his constituents – in particular when it comes to the county’s infrastructure and tax rate (which was recently increased to accommodate a school bond).

"I sit in the same traffic they do, I pay the same property tax they do, I understand it," he said. "I have the same frustrations they do."

George will face Democrat challenger Jim Harris during the general election in November.

Mark Robinson, who's now the Republican nominee for governor, took home nearly 70% of the vote in Pender County. Former president Donald Trump also won Pender County with just over 80% of the vote. Voter turnout hovered below state average at 21%.

Nikolai Mather is a Report for America corps member from Pittsboro, North Carolina. He covers rural communities in Pender County, Brunswick County and Columbus County. He graduated from UNC Charlotte with degrees in genocide studies and political science. Prior to his work with WHQR, he covered religion in Athens, Georgia and local politics in Charlotte, North Carolina. In his spare time, he likes working on cars and playing the harmonica. You can reach him at nmather@whqr.org.