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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Election Day is just four weeks from today, and time is winding down for candidates to make their case.

Five of the six hopefuls for New Hanover County Commission faced off again this morning in a forum hosted by WWAY and the Volunteer Older Citizens Action League at the New Hanover County Senior Resource Center.

The candidates discussed several issues ranging from city-county consolidation to the traffic dilemma during the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge closure last month.

“It took me an hour to go 15 minutes,” Democrat Jonathan Barfield said about having to find an alternate route using back roads to get home from Leland, “and that’s just unacceptable.”

“I do not think there was leadership stepping up or communication this past weekend with the bridge closure,” Republican Beth Dawson said.

Issues also included handling the county’s trash needs.

“It’s our trash,” Democrat Robert Murray said. “We need to take care of it.”

They also discussed working to make New Hanover County better for small businesses.

“We need to ask all the businesses that are currently here in New Hanover County that invested millions in infrastructure what can we do to help them grow their businesses,” Republican Derrick Hickey said.

Members of the audience wanted to know about the candidates’ view of Wilmington’s ballpark plan. That led to a question about how each would prioritize spending $37 million if voters gave them that issue, as Wilmington is voters to spend on a ballpark.

“If I had the opportunity to have $37 million, the first thing I would do is I would sit down and I would listen,” Democrat Robert Zapple said.

But one voter thought what was interesting about the candidates’ answers is what was not among their spending priorities.

“It was a very interesting answer from all the candidates on that. They mentioned the $37 million is coming from the stadium issue. Not one of the candidates mentioned spending the $37 million on a new stadium,” Dick Hayes said.

Other voters we talked with said the forum satisfied their need to learn more about the candidates before they head to the poll.

Republican Woody White, an attorney, could not attend because of his court schedule.

A reminder, Friday is the last day to register to vote on Election Day. Early voting starts October 18.


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