WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The race for three open New Hanover County Commission will be a crowded one next year with a total of ten candidates filing to run, including seven Republicans.
Incumbent Republicans Beth Dawson and Woody White will be joined in the March 15 primary by Patricia Kusek, Campbell Dodd, John Babb, Derrick Hickey and Jim Brumit. Hickey, a former New Hanover County School Board member, ran for commission in 2014, finishing third in the race for two seats won by Republican Skip Watkins and Democrat Rob Zapple.
On the Democratic side, incumbent Jonathan Barfield, Nelson Beaulieu and Julia Boseman, who served on the commission before several years as a state senator, move on to November’s general election, where they will face the top three Republicans from the primary.
The number of Republicans may be a sign of some issues within the party. Sources say many Republicans are upset with Dawson, who helped Barfield become commission chair last year and became chair herself this month with votes from Barfield and Zapple. White has openly endorsed Kusek and Brumit, who he has described as “solid conservatives.”
White was asked about his feeling toward Dawson after she voted for Barfield.
“It stems from her voting for liberal democrats which he is,” said White. “She also voted with the liberals to raise taxes and expand welfare. It’s nothing personal. It’s simply that real conservatives stand true to their values. She abandoned the party and consequently we have higher taxes and more welfare.”
Dawson disagrees with White.
“Mr. White’s statements regarding my fiscal conservatism are incorrect and very misleading,” said Dawson. “I am proud of my responsible voting record and I am prepared to discuss it with you. It was very disappointing that the current Republican men serving on the County Commission refused to vote for a Republican woman for Chair of the Board two years in a row.