2012 Elections

Okko Pyykkö

Four people are vying for the mayoral seat in the Town of Oak Island.  This Brunswick County coastal town sits largely on a barrier island and has a year-round population of nearly seven-thousand people.  That number more than quintuples during the busy summer season. 

During a recent CoastLine Candidate Forum, all four candidates said they think transparency in government is critical.  But they didn’t all agree on whether the current government is adequately open or on how to improve transparency. 

Rouzer Requests Mandatory Recount

Nov 20, 2012
David Rouzer

North Carolina State Senator David Rouzer is calling for a recount in the race for the 7th congressional district. WHQR’s Sara Wood reports the republican made the announcement yesterday, which was the deadline for candidates to request a mandatory recount.

The race for the seat in North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District was one of the most-watched and tightly-fought races in the Cape Fear region.  The incumbent, Democratic Congressman Mike McIntyre, faced a tough contest – particularly after the latest round of redistricting removed his home county of Robeson.  But as WHQR’s Rachel Lewis Hilburn reports, there’s still no clear answer on who won the race. 

Two New Candidates Win NHCo. Commission Seats

Nov 7, 2012

Last night the race among the 6 New Hanover County commission candidates was close. Voters elected two new commissioners and brought back a familiar face. Chairman Jonathan Barfield earned another term, while newcomer Republicans Woody White and Beth Dawson join the board. WHQR’s Sara Wood reports Dawson is the first woman elected to the commission since 2008.

Dawson captured the second highest percentage of votes, winning a seat with 18 percent. She says she plans to work hard to build consensus, even if the road ahead requires some patience.

Wilmington Voters Reject Stadium Referendum

Nov 7, 2012

After almost a year of negotiations and emotional debate, Wilmington’s 37-million dollar stadium referendum died last night. WHQR’s Sara Wood reports the referendum was defeated in every precinct in the City of Wilmington.

Seventy percent of voters within the City of Wilmington rejected the referendum. But both sides of the issue remained optimistic until the very end. Scott Harry with the Vote No Stadium Tax Committee says voters were heard loud and clear. And now he wants the New Hanover County Commissioners to hear their message, too.

Pauljoffe at en.wikipedia [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

While record numbers of North Carolina voters cast early ballots before One Stop Voting ends Saturday, the state board of elections is concerned with reports of inappropriate behavior at the polls. From fighting to voter misinformation, WHQR’s Sara Wood has more on the growing emotions of this election season.


Democratic Candidate Danny Hefner is hoping to beat Incumbent State Senator Bill Rabon, a Republican, in the race for the seat in District 8. 

During the May 8 primary elections, some voters arriving at Devon Park Methodist Church questioned the message on the church’s sign that said: “A TRUE MARRIAGE IS MALE AND FEMALE AND GOD.”

The ins and outs of voting in New Hanover County

Oct 12, 2012

Today is the last day for New Hanover County residents to register to vote for the November 6 election. But if you haven’t made this happen yet, don’t fear. WHQR’s Sara Wood found some good advice for weathering voting season.

With less than a week before One Stop Voting, or early voting, begins, Elections Director Marvin McFadyen says the most important thing for voters to do is make sure registration is up to date and accurate.

Several issues were discussed during last night’s North Carolina Senate District 9 forum at the WHQR Gallery, but education continued to surface as one of the central debates. WHQR’s Sara Wood reports incumbent Republican Thom Goolsby and Democratic opponent Deb Butler argued the merits and failures of the state’s education system.

During last night’s North Carolina Senate District 9 Forum at the WHQR Gallery, panelist Jon Evans of WECT asked candidates if they would resurrect the voter ID bill vetoed last year by Governor Bev Perdue. WHQR’s Sara Wood reports incumbent Republican Thom Goolsby and Democratic candidate Deb Butler passionately disagreed while toeing the party lines.

At the North Carolina Senate District 9 Candidates’ Forum at WHQR last night, Republican Senator Thom Goolsby and his Democratic opponent Deb Butler accused one another of hypocrisy, lying, mud-slinging, and complaining.  So when panelist Cacky Catlett asked how they would talk to families who aren’t interested in politics as usual, the answer, as WHQR’s Rachel Lewis Hilburn reports, quickly turned into -- well, politics as usual.

It started with an acknowledgment from the candidates: 

Although subtle differences exist in some races this election season, that is not the case with Senate District 9.  In a Candidates’ Forum in the WHQR Gallery last night, WHQR’s Rachel Lewis Hilburn reports that Republican Senator Thom Goolsby and Democratic Candidate Deb Butler went to the mat over regulatory reform. 

The two candidates running for the House District 18 seat agreed on some issues last night at WHQR’s candidate forum. Refusing to sign a pledge against raising taxes was one part of the common ground. WHQR’s Sara Wood reports Republican challenger Louis Harmati and Democratic incumbent Susi Hamilton both agree to keep their names off this list.

Unlike some of his fellow Republican party members, Harmati says he won’t sign his name on that kind of promise.

Traffic woes in the Cape Fear Region were one of the topics at last night’s House District 18 Forum in the WHQR Gallery. WHQR’s Sara Wood reports Democratic incumbent Susi Hamilton and Republican challenger Louis Harmati were asked how they would solve the plight of motorists traveling between New Hanover and Brunswick Counties.

Representative Susi Hamilton, a Democrat, is facing Republican challenger Louis Harmati in the race to represent House District 18.  At a Candidate Forum in the WHQR Gallery last night, WHQR’s Rachel Lewis Hilburn reports that it was difficult to find points on which Hamilton and Harmati disagreed.     

Cacky Catlett of WWAY asked the two politicians for their views on film incentives – in light of the recent decision of one big production to go to Cleveland. 

Republican Louis Harmati is challenging Democratic Representative Susi Hamilton for the seat in House District 18.  The two candidates came together last night in the WHQR Gallery. As WHQR’s Rachel Lewis Hilburn reports, the predictably divisive issue of fracking turned out to be yet another area of near-agreement between candidates.

Tonight at 7 PM, Senator Thom Goolsby squares off with challenger Deb Butler in the race for Senate District 9. They'll take questions from panelists, the studio audience, and even via Twitter. Listeners at home can tune-in to 91.3fm, stream online, or watch the video below!

Several major issues facing New Hanover County were posed to the six candidates running for county commissioner last night. WHQR’s Sara Wood reports candidates spoke their minds about the upcoming baseball stadium referendum facing all city residents, but only half of the county.

The six candidates for New Hanover County Board of Commissioners sat down last night for a forum hosted by WHQR. Sara Wood reports candidates were asked how they would ensure unity on the board.

How to grow the region’s economy in an effective and sustainable manner is a question that comes up frequently in discussions with government leaders.  It was the second question put to candidates running for a seat on the New Hanover County Commission during last night’s Forum at WHQR.  And as WHQR’s Rachel Lewis Hilburn reports, it was a push for clarity after a forum last week that yielded little in the way of specifics. 

Last night, WHQR Reporter Sara Wood asked candidates what they would do to lure big industry – and what they see as current examples of extraneous red tape. 

It was the first in a series of WHQR Candidate Forums.  Last night, the focus was on the six people vying for seats on the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners.  Members of a live studio audience in the WHQR Gallery asked questions of the candidates – including – as WHQR’s Rachel Lewis Hilburn reports – whether North Carolina’s coastal waters should be open to alternative energy exploration. 

“What is your opinion of offshore drilling for us in this area?”

WHQR will host and broadcast four candidate forums as part of the 2012 Election Season in the MC Erny Gallery, 254 N. Front Street, #300.

In a surprising primary upset, State Senator David Rouzer beat Ilario Pantano by a four percent margin in the race for the 7th Congressional District.  

After last night’s Republican primary race for New Hanover County Commissioner, three new candidates will move to the ballot in November. 

In State House District 18, Democratic Incumbent Susi Hamilton trounced challenger James Knox by taking home 70 percent of the vote. And in the race for House District 19, WHQR’s Rachel Lewis Hilburn reports New Hanover County Commission Chair Ted Davis will face Democrat Emilie Swearingen in November.

Governor Bev Perdue insisted until shortly before the May Primary that she was going to run for re-election.  

In last night’s primary, three democratic candidates for New Hanover County Board of Commissioners will move to the ballot in November, including, as WHQR’s Sara Wood reports, incumbent Vice-Chairman Jonathan Barfield.

Barfield led the pack all evening, winning with 34.5 percent. Newcomer Rob Zapple followed behind Barfield with almost 29 percent. He says it’s been a long and steady road to get to this point.

NHCo. Board of Education Results

May 9, 2012


In the primary race for New Hanover County Board of Education, three republicans and three democrats will compete in November. 

It was the sole issue in the May primary that would be decided before November.  North Carolina’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman spurred impressive primary turnout across the state.  And, as WHQR’s Rachel Lewis Hilburn reports, the amendment garnered 61 percent.