NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Voters in New Hanover County have elected three county commissioners, and the board could have a fourth new member by its January meeting.
Six candidates, three republicans and three democrats, campaigned for the open seats.
In the end, Woody White (R), Beth Dawson (R) and incumbent Jonathan Barfield Jr. (D) convinced voters that they should join Brian Berger and Rick Catlin on the Board of County Commissioners.
Pending a victory in his campaign to represent District 20 in the General Assembly, Catlin would leave his seat open before taking office in Raleigh.
White has staunchly opposed incentives for businesses in New Hanover County, including the film industry. Like his fellow GOP candidates, White considers jobs a top priority, ahead of better communication among local leaders. White, a lawyer by profession, was appointed to the State Senate in the early 00's but lost a reelection bid in 2004. According to finance reports, White's campaign has collected the most of any candidate with roughly $125,000.
Dawson is the first female commissioner since Nancy Pritchett finished her second term in 2008. The retired banker has publicly stated jobs and economic development are her main focus, which aligns with her appointment to the Southeastern N.C. Regional Economic Development Commission. Dawson has served on several other state and local boards, including the New Hanover Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees.
Barfield is the current Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners. His fellow commissioners appointed him after Ted Davis left the board to fill a vacancy as New Hanover County's representative in the General Assembly. Barfield was seeking reelection to his second term as a commissioner.
The licensed Realtor has expressed his support of economic development in the county. To Barfield, that includes supporting a plan to bring Minor League Baseball to New Hanover County, but after the $37 million bond referendum was shot down by voters, Barfield said baseball was done in the Port City.
"To me, it's a dead issue and time to move on to something else - like solid waste," said Bafield who plans to continue focusing his efforts on the issue.
Barfield said Wednesday that despite coming in third in the election, he's very happy with the results.
"I'm so honored the citizens of New Hanover County would choose me again to serve as one of their county commissioners," said Barfield.
With the new faces and changes to the board things could be different moving forward, but that doesn't bother Barfield.
"I think it's going to be a great board," the commissioner said Wednesday morning.
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