2018 Elections

The 2018 mid-term elections brought historic turnout across the country and in North Carolina.  Across the state, more than 52% of registered voters cast ballots.  That’s in line with the local numbers:  New Hanover County turnout was at 51%, Pender County saw a 50% turnout, but Brunswick County's number was even higher at 57%. 

North Carolina’s Senate District 8 covers Brunswick, Bladen, and Pender Counties.  Also included is a tiny part – 2.6% -- of New Hanover County.

North Carolina House Districts in the Cape Fear region saw incumbents keep their seats. But in some cases, they just squeaked through.

In Pender County, Republicans swept all the races in this 2018 election. For the Board of Commissioners, District 1, incumbent David Williams defeated Morgan Lashaw.

New Hanover County voters have created a Democratic majority on the Board of Commissioners.  And they’ve added a few to what was a fully Republican Board of Education.

In one of the closer races of the night, Democrat Harper Peterson defeated Republican Senator Michael Lee in North Carolina Senate District 9. With all precincts reporting, the margin between the two was 38 votes. There was a dominant issue in this campaign.

U.S. Congressman David Rouzer defeated his Democratic challenger Kyle Horton in the District 7 race, 55 percent to 42 percent.  Rouzer points to economic growth as a key factor in the race.


In Brunswick County, the Board of Commissioners remains solidly Republican.  Incumbent Marty Cooke, who’s served on the Board since 2008, easily beat unaffiliated candidate Marilyn Priddy.  

Marty Cooke

Marty Cooke stepped onto Brunswick County’s Board of Commissioners mid-term, after a Board Member passed away in 2008.  Since then, the Republican incumbent has won reelection twice and he’s seeking his third four-year term.  

In Pender County, Republican Ken Smith is running against Democrat June Robbins for Board of Education in District 4. The seat opened this year when Katherine Herring, who had served on the board since 1990, passed away. This is not Smith’s first run for public office. 

Bill Flythe

Bill Flythe is running for Brunswick County’s Board of Education.  The Democratic challenger faces Republican incumbent Charles Miller – who serves as Chief Deputy in the Sheriff’s office.  That’s one of the reasons Flythe says he’s a better option for the School Board. 

Katelyn Freund

North Carolina House District 20 covers most of New Hanover County – largely in the northern portion. Holly Grange, a Republican, was first appointed to the seat after Rick Catlin announced he was stepping down.  She then ran unopposed in the 2016 general election and won.

Vince Winkel

In Pender County, Democrat June Robbins is running for Board of Education in District 4. Her opponent is Republican Ken Smith. The seat opened earlier this year when Katherine Herring, who had served on the board since 1990, passed away.  Robbins is a familiar face in Pender education circles, having served as the principal and assistant principal at several schools.

Rochelle Whiteside

Rochelle Whiteside is hoping to keep her seat on Pender County’s Board of Education.   The Democratic incumbent is facing Republican Challenger Cindy Faulk Fontana on the November ballot.

Katelyn Freund

North Carolina House District 19 encompasses the southern portion of New Hanover County.

There are two candidates for Pender County’s Board of Education, District 1.  Democrat Rochelle Whiteside, an incumbent, is facing a challenge from Republican Cindy Faulk Fontana. WHQR has more on the challenger.


Julia Olson-Boseman is running for one of two open seats on the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners.  The Democratic challenger is in a field of four candidates:  two incumbents – Republican Skip Watkins and Democrat Rob Zapple – and a Republican challenger – Eric Lytle.  


Republican incumbent Skip Watkins is running for a second term on the Board of Commissioners in New Hanover County.  He’s in the race for the two seats with Democratic Incumbent Rob Zapple, also a Board member of WHQR, and two challengers:  Democrat Julia Olson-Boseman and Republican Eric Lytle.  

In New Hanover County, there are two spots up for grabs on the Board of Commissioners. Four candidates for the board are battling over those two seats: Republicans Eric Lytle and Skip Watkins and Democrats Julia Olson-Boseman and Rob Zapple. WHQR has more on challenger Eric Lytle.

CoastLine Candidate Interviews: NC Senate District 9

Oct 25, 2018
Katelyn Freund

Editor's Note: Ethan Bickley (L) has endorsed Senator Michael Lee (R), as reported by WECT

On this edition, the focus is North Carolina Senate District 9, which includes most of New Hanover County.  Not part of District 9 is the largely Democratic, African-American neighborhood in downtown Wilmington that, as described in detail during our Senate District 8 edition, is 2.6% of New Hanover County voters. 

Katelyn Freund

On this edition, our focus is on North Carolina House District 16 – which covers Pender County and about a portion of Columbus County, according to the newest maps. 

There are four candidates for the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners battling over two seats:  Republicans Eric Lytle and Skip Watkins and Democrats Julia Olson-Boseman and Rob Zapple. Current  incumbent Rob Zapple says he’s looking for more efficiency in county government.

Katelyn Freund

On this edition, our focus is North Carolina House District 18 – which covers the northern tip of Brunswick County and the northwestern corner of New Hanover.

Marilyn Priddy

Marilyn Priddy is hoping to oust long-time Brunswick County Commissioner Marty Cooke – who’s served District 2 since 2008.  Priddy, a Democrat, is running as an unaffiliated candidate because she joined the race in an unconventional way.

CoastLine Candidate Interviews: 7th Congressional District

Oct 18, 2018
Katelyn Freund

North Carolina’s U.S. House District 7 stretches from the southeastern coast of North Carolina encompassing Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender Counties – west to the more rural Columbus, Sampson, Wayne and Duplin Counties.  The district also includes portions of Johnston and Bladen County. 

In Pender County, the race for District 2 of the Board of Education has Republican Beth Burns running against Kenneth Lanier, a Democrat – and also the incumbent.  Lanier is the current Board of Education chair.   

There are five districts in Brunswick County’s Board of Education. In District 5, Republican Jerry Benton is facing off against Democrat Joanne Levitan.  She’s big on school safety but not so much on charter schools.


 Brunswick County’s Board of Education is split into five districts.  Two of them have contests this year.  In District 5, John Thompson lost his primary to Republican Jerry Benton.  Now this political newcomer battles Democratic Challenger Joanne Levitan in November.