By William Holloman
Mount Olive has a new mayor and two newcomers to its board of commissioners.
One-quarter of eligible voters, an unusually high number, turned out at the two polling precincts here for last week’s “off-year” municipal election. They gave Joe Scott a 67-percent margin of victory for the mayor’s seat over challengers Jessie “Jack” Faison and James (Jimmy) Mayo.
Scott, the current incumbent District 4 member of the town board, sought the mayoral seat when Mayor Ray McDonald, Sr. decided to seek another term. He told the Tribune he was “overwhelmed by the margin of victory.” Scott received 384 votes to Faison’s 160, and Mayo’s 29.
Five write-in votes were also cast in that race.
Voters here also wanted more change, and incumbent at large town commissioner Jerry Harper was defeated by political newcomer Steve Wiggins. Wiggins had 341 votes to Harper’s 232. One write-in vote was cast in the at large seat race.
It was Harper’s first term.
In the race for the District 1 seat currently held by Kenny Talton (who did not seek reelection), voters gave the nod to Vicky Darden by a 77 to 49 margin over Hobert Yates. Both Ms. Darden and Yates are newcomers on the local political scene, although both have been vocal activists about local issues.
The Reverend Dennis Draper, who sought the seat left open by Scott in District 4, was unopposed. Draper received 130 votes.
District 3 Commissioner Barbara Kornegay was also unopposed. She had 131 votes. Ms. Kornegay was appointed to the board last June to fill the vacancy of Tom Preston, who resigned to relocate his business and family to Wilmington.
And, incumbent District 2 Commissioner Harlie Carmichael, who was unopposed, will serve another term. Carmichael garnered 108 votes. 14 write-in votes were cast for that seat.
The newly-elected officials will take the oath of office at swearing-in ceremonies at the board’s December meeting.
Scott commented, “I am humbled and thankful for all the support I received. God bless us all because we live in the best town in North Carolina,” he said.
The Tribune asked the town manager to comment on the election results. “It is my job to work with whoever the people of Mount Olive elect to serve them,” Brown said. “I am sure we will have just as good of a relationship with the new board as we did with them outgoing one.”
The town manager said he would like to take the opportunity to thank all the outgoing board members and the mayor for everything they have done for the Town of Mount Olive. “Ray McDonald has had his hands on a lot of things that go on in this town and we owe him a load of gratitude, and that also goes for the outgoing board members who worked hard and had what was best for this town at heart,” Brown said.
He said he looks forward to working with the new mayor and the new board members.