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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.


Comment on this Story

  • Guest74712

    Enjoyed reading the comments here from the few on the executive committee who did not vote for Hickey. Especially the “destitute Latino background” part – something only mentioned in the CLOSED executive committee meeting. Hickey has been open about his Hispanic background. If you followed the board of education, you would know that. (And he does speak Spanish, so I’m not sure what the comment in Spanish is supposed to infer). His comment about the message being sent to Hispanic voters, regardless of justification, is one that they are not welcome in local politics. It is a problem the Republican party has nationwide with inclusion.

    The comments here are reflective of the handful of people making them. Please do not believe that most republicans feel this way. Dr. Hickey has worked consistently for conservative principles. Those of us who follow area politics know this. It is clear there is an agenda among at least a few the sitting commissioners. Time will tell how it plays out for the county. Sadly, we lost an honest, well qualified leader to this county board when they ignored the party recommendation and did not approve Hickey. I hope this does not deter him from a political future. We need some leaders that do not stand to profit from their elected positions. Right now, we do not have them.

  • Guest704

    Looks like we dodged a bullet by not getting another controversial leader on a board around here. His racist comment & sense of entitlement remind me of a lot Katherine Moore. …and we all remember what a train wreck, fiasco, & embarrassment that person was for the citizens in our community.

  • RSimmons

    One right-wing crazy on the commission is enough, we don’t need two.

  • SouthEastNC

    Arrogant yankee? Yes, we all knew that.

    Latino? Come on dude.

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