Unofficial primary results in for New Hanover County Commission


NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The unofficial results of the primary race for New Hanover County Commission are in with 100% of the precincts reporting.

On the Democratic ballot, Leslie Cohen received 24.62% of the votes, Kyle Horton received 24.48% of the votes and Jonathan Barfield, who is running for reelection, received 24.24% of the votes.

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On the Republican ballot, Skip Watkins received 17.60% of the votes, Bill Rivenbark received 15.09% of the votes and Deb Hays 14.09% of the votes.

Out of 15 candidates, these six candidates will all be on the ballot for the general election in November, vying for three contested seats on the Board of Commissioners.

Cohen, who was happy with the results throughout the night, talked about several issues in the county right now. She says she is focusing her campaign on transparency between the county and the public.

“It shouldn’t even be a partisan race,” Cohen said. “What we really need is to sit down, work together and solve the problems in New Hanover County. So I’m just really going to be focused on talking to voters about what they see are our biggest problems, about my ideas, about their ideas because we really just need to bring it all to the table.”

Horton also brought up several big issues she wants to focus on including the future of New Hanover Regional Medical Center, the WAVE Transit debate and the handling of misconduct allegations in the school system.

“To be accountable and transparent in my leadership, but to be focused on the public health,” Horton said. “So how I want people to think about this race and why I’m running, is that when it comes to public transportation, that’s essential to people being able to escape poverty and achieve economic success.”

On the Republican side, a crowded ballot of nine was narrowed down to three candidates Tuesday night.

Watkins, who previously served on the board from 2014 – 2018, says he felt it was his duty to run again.

“Me and one other or two other people, we did the first property tax decrease in 25 years in this county,” Watkins said. “We’re fighting GenX on the forefront, I helped design the flood water plan for the unincorporated area. There are just so many things that I feel like I need to complete.”

Bill Rivenbark, a member of the school board, wasn’t present at the New Hanover County GOP watch party to comment. In third was Deb Hays. Hays says she’s excited to continue her campaign into the fall.

“I’m a public servant, and I serve the people, and I will be there for you and I will answer your calls, I will answer your emails,” Hays said. “I’ve done that as chair of the city of Wilmington Planning Commission.”