WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The New Hanover County Commission, with a Republican majority, thumbed its nose at the county GOP today, when it passed on the party's nominee to fill an open commission seat.
Earlier this week, County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield, the commission's lone Democrat, said the GOP Executive Committee would chose New Hanover County ABC Board Chair Thomas Wolfe to fill an empty commission seat. But by Thursday night, supporters of Derrick Hickey swung the vote to the current school board member.
At Friday's special meeting, Commissioner Brian Berger nominated Hickey, but no one would second his nomination.
Commissioner Beth Dawson then nominated Wolfe, which got support from Chairman Woody White and Commissioner Jonathan Barfield.
Hickey says the vote boiled down to just friends voting for friends. Hickey also tells us he thinks he didn't get elected because he is Latino and the board is racist. He points to both himself and Melissa Gott, who is also Latino, losing the vote to an "old white guy" ... Wolfe.
Chairman White says he would have gotten heat no matter who the board voted for.
Berger says the vote shows that there is definitely a rift in the New Hanover County Republican Party.
Wolfe acknowledged after the vote that he was just one of many qualified candidates, including Hickey, but says he'll be ready for his new job come Monday, when he'll be sworn in.
Wolfe says he can legally stay on the ABC Board and be a commissioner, too, but he will step down as ABC Board chair and abstain on any alcohol related issues commissioners may have to vote on.