GOP primary ends with challengers on top

Carl Ford wins GOP Senate primary and Sasser downs Burr in House race

ALBEMARLE — The 2018 primary election came to a conclusion last night and Stanly County will have a new sheriff, three new county commissioners and new representation in both the state House and Senate after the fall election.

Carl Ford (center) speaks to Anthony Graves at a polling site in Locust | Stanly County Journal

The newly drawn N.C. Senate District 33 will feature current N.C. House Rep. Carl Ford (R-Rowan) who defeated Stanly County resident Bill Sorenson. After the race was called, Ford said, “it is my honor to be the Republican nominee for the N.C. Senate District 33.” On the general election to come, Ford stuck to his primary talking points. “I will continued to focus on cutting more red tape, keeping citizens hard-earned money in their pockets, increasing economic development and working hard to help our veterans and to make our education system stronger,” said Ford. Ford will face Democrat Geoffrey Hoy in the general election.

Wayne Sasser will be the GOP nominee in House District 67 | Courtesy Sasser Campaign

In the other N.C. legislative primary, Wayne Sasser defeated long-term incumbent Justin Burr and will face Democrat Karen Webster and Libertarian Michael Finn in the fall. After the win, Sasser said, “I’m not the politician in this group. I think it was the voters and the people of Stanly County that made a statement.” In keeping with his campaign statements, Sasser reiterated a focus on inclusion saying, “We are going to move this county forward. We are going to patch the damage that’s been done and get everybody headed in one direction.” Speaking of the anti-incumbent mood, Sasser said, “I think people wanted a change. I hope we can make positive change and let everyone feel like they have a part in the process.”

In the county-wide races, Michael Huneycutt cruised to victory in the Clerk of Superior Court race. No Democrat filed for the seat so Huneycutt will remain the elected clerk. The hotly contested GOP primary for sheriff was taken by Jeff Crisco who defeated incumbent Sheriff George T. Burris along with former sheriffs Rick Burris and Tony Frick along with Jonathan Barbee. Sonny Hinson Jr. was the only Democrat to file and will face Crisco in November.

“I focused on letting everybody know that I wasn’t bashing George Burris,” said Crisco. “His direction and my direction were different.” As to the policies that he will advocate for in the general election, Crisco was focused on collaboration and preparedness. “I think the Sheriff’s office needs to work closer with the other municipalities and that includes the volunteer fire departments and EMS,” said Crisco. “Being a drug detective, I want to start a multi-agency drug task force to really tackle the drug epidemic in this county … local, state and federal agencies need to communicate and train together. We all need to plan and train together so we are ready and everyone knows what to do.”

As he looks toward the general election, Crisco said, “The hard work is about to get started.”

Commissioner Joseph Burleson and Sheriff George Burris converse at a polling site in Oakboro. Both Burleson and Burris were defeated by challengers in the GOP primary. | Stanly County Journal

In the Stanly County Commissioners races, three incumbents succumbed to primary challengers. County Commission Chairman Joseph Burleson was unseated by Tommy Jordan in District 3 who will be uncontested in the general election. In the at-large race, Lane Furr unseated Jann Lowder. In District 1, Mike Barbee defeated incumbent Scott Efird and faces no opponent in November. In District 2, Bill Lawhon was the lone incumbent to hold his seat and will face Democrat Elaine M. Coats. Zachary Almond (R) and Mike Lambert (D) did not have primary opponents and will face each other in November for the District 4 seat.

In the Stanly County Board of Education GOP primary, Anthony Graves defeated Mitzi Webb and will face Joanne Neel Hesley, the only Democrat to file in the Board of Education races, in the general election. Jeff Chance narrowly defeated John Edwards for the District 1 seat on the board.

District Attorney Lynn Clodfelter was the sole candidate to file for his seat, so the general election will be uncontested in November.

In the Albemarle City Council at-large seat primary, Martha Hughes bested Duke Furr for the GOP nomination and will be unopposed in the general election. Benton Dry (D) and Shirley Lowder (R) will square off to represent District 2 and David Morgan (D) and Chris Whitley (R) will compete for District 4 in the November election.

In the lone Democratic primary contest for Stanly County voters, Frank McNeill emerged as the candidate to face Rep. Richard Hudson (R-08) in the Eighth Congressional District contest in November.

This article will be updated.