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Hartsell defeats Hill in Senate District 36 race

By Joanie Morris
Salisbury Post
CONCORD ó For state Sen. Fletcher Hartsell, Tuesday was a lot like any other day. He worked in the afternoon and headed to Raleigh for committee meetings and other duties coming up the rest of the week.
The difference this Tuesday was that the Concord attorney squeezed in a visit to the Cabarrus County Board of Elections to check primary election returns.
Hartsell easily beat opponent Thomas Hill, a Libertarian running as a Republican for the GOP nomination in the N.C. Senate District 36 race.
With 45 of 46 precincts reporting Tuesday evening, Hartsell received 6,252 votes to Hill’s 2,659 votes in Cabarrus County. Results are unofficial until certified by the Board of Elections.
Hartsell said he is honored to have been allowed to serve Cabarrus County for 18 years.
“I think there’s a real future in this community and I’m pleased to have the opportunity to continue to serve,” Hartsell said. One of his priorities if re-elected in November will be “to continue to work for the transformation of this community.”
Hartsell will face off against Jim Johnson, the winner of the Democratic primary Tuesday night.
Neither Johnson nor his challenger, Mike Helms, was available for comment Tuesday evening.
Johnson received 8,767 votes. Helms garnered 8,279.
Hill may have been beaten by Hartsell, but that doesn’t mean he’s out of this year’s elections.
Hill announced Tuesday evening that he will be on the ballot anyway ó as a Libertarian candidate running against U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes (R-8) and his Democratic challenger Larry Kissell. Hill said Libertarians will be allowed on the ballot in North Carolina again, thanks to a petition with the correct number of signatures.
“I’m happy I gave the voters of this district a choice,” Hill said about his run against Hartsell. “I’m tickled to death to get that vote total.”
Hill said he didn’t campaign as much as he would have normally, but he is also working on the candidacy of Dr. Mary Ruwart, who is running for the Libertarian nomination for the presidency. His official title is aide de camp for Ruwart, which basically means he’s her personal assistant and assistant campaign manager.
“It’s just the opportunity of a lifetime,” Hill said.
House District 82
The winner of the Republican primary for N.C. House District 82, incumbent Rep. Jeff Barnhart, will face Democrat Wayne Troutman in the November race. Troutman did not have an opponent in the primary.
Barnhart was not available for comment Tuesday evening. His Republican challenger, Larry Pittman, wouldn’t concede with nearly all the votes counted.
“I’m just waiting to see the final results,” Pittman said with 23 of the 24 precincts in his district reporting. “I don’t know if there’s enough out there to make up the difference, but I’ll just wait and see. …
“I was out after work last night until 4 in the morning putting out signs” and back at the polls at 8 a.m., Pittman said. He was at the polls at about 8 a.m “We’ll see what happens when it’s over.”
Barnhart had garnered 2,722 votes, to Pittman’s 2,003 votes.
House District 83
The winner of the Democratic primary, Barry Richards, will challenge Republican incumbent Rep. Linda Johnson, who did not face opposition in the primary.
“Primaries are good,” said Richards, who ran against fellow Democrat John Stanley. “It gives some credit to your candidacy because you’ve won a race.”
Richards said that if elected, his top priority would be to see money Cabarrus County sends to Raleigh returned to Cabarrus County.
“I hope the people of Cabarrus County can see traditional Democrats can go to Raleigh with their same values,” Richards said. He describes himself as someone with both Democratic and Republican ideals. “I think I can pull the Republican vote.”
He admits running against Johnson will be difficult because of her service in Raleigh and the name recognition she has in Kannapolis and other areas of Cabarrus County.
“I think I’ve got a pretty good name recognition also,” Richards said.
His opponent, Stanley, said he wishes Richards good luck in the November election and promised to help where he can. But most of his energy will now go to giving veterans in North Carolina a voice, he said.
“We’ll see what happens,” Stanley said. “There’s still a lot to be done.”
Currently, he’s busy working on www.NCVets.org, a caucus that will focus efforts on the rights and benefits of veterans in North Carolina.
“That’s going to be my focus going forward,” he said. “To make sure the veterans in North Carolina have a strong voice.”
In unofficial results, Richards received 4,089 votes, compared to Stanley’s 2,743 votes.
Contact Joanie Morris at 704-932-3336 or jmorris@salisburypost.com.

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