• 45°

Elect 2012: Many voted early, but turnout was steady

By Mark Wineka
mwineka@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — When the election dust settled from Tuesday’s primaries, Rowan County had sent 29,141 voters to the polls — the population of a small city, such as Salisbury.
The 32 percent turnout was fueled by something more than the candidates on Tuesday’s ballots.
“It’s got to be the amendment,” said Republican Rowan County commissioner candidate Bill Feather, who spent much of the day at his home polling place, Granite Quarry.
Rowan County followed the overall state sentiment in favor of a constitutional amendment (“Amendment One” on the ballot) to prevent North Carolina from recognizing gay marriage and civil unions.
Rowan County supported the amendment with 74.32 percent for and 25.68 percent against.
Tuesday’s turnout actually surpassed that of the presidential primary year in 2008, when 31 percent of Rowan’s voters showed up. In 2008, there was more drama in the Democratic primary for president as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were still vying for the nomination.
This year, the Democratic and Republican nominees for president are essentially set: Obama on the Democratic side and Mitt Romney as the GOP choice.
As you might expect, Obama (unopposed) and Romney led the ticket in Rowan. Romney captured 63.55 percent of the Republican vote. His closest challenger was Rick Santorum at 11.98 percent.
For the most part, Rowan voters generally followed the statewide trends in the primaries.
Governor’s race
In the Republican primary for governor, Rowan County gave a ringing endorsement to former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, who had 91 percent of the county’s GOP vote. McCrory is a Catawba College graduate.
On the Democratic side, Rowan voters favored Walter Dalton’s candidacy for governor. Dalton had 48.8 percent of the vote to Bob Etheridge’s 32.45 percent.
In Democratic U.S. House races, Rowan’s primary voters favored Elisabeth Motsinger in the 5th District, Larry Kissell in the 8th District and Mel Watt in the 12th. (See those separate stories.)
Rowan Democrats in N.C. Senate District 25 favored Gene McLaurin; Republicans, Gene McIntyre. (See the story.)
Rowan County Commissioner Carl Ford convincingly captured the Republican nomination for N.C. House District 76. (See story.)
Commissioners
Meanwhile, the primaries for two seats on the Rowan County Board of Commissioners were tight among Republicans and Democrats. Former Commissioner Leda Belk led the Democratic side with 27.3 percent of the vote, but there could be a runoff between Ralph Walton (17.5 percent) and Corey Hill (16.43 percent) for the other seat. (See story).
Former Commissioner Gus Andrews led the Republican candidates with 18.85 percent of the vote, but he was followed closely by, in order, Gene Miller, Mike Caskey and Craig Pierce. Runoffs could be in order for both parties. (See story.)
For full election results, go to the Rowan County Board of Elections website.
Early voting
Before the polls even opened Tuesday morning, more than 6.5 percent of Rowan County’s registered voters had taken advantage of the chance to cast their ballots early.
That early, one-stop voting ended Saturday.
Rowan County Elections Director Nancy Evans reported that 5,957 people voted early. Of those, 3,119 were registered Republicans, 1,675 Democrats and 1,156 unaffiliated.
Turnout was steady for much of the day Tuesday, though voters had to dodge some spring showers.
Granite Quarry had an unusually high turnout, with more than 500 having voted by lunchtime.
When Feather was re-elected to the Granite Quarry Board of Aldermen last November, the turnout for the town election was only about half of that, he said.
Steve Drake, who owns his own surveying business, was working at the Granite Quarry precinct in support of Amendment One.
Confusion
Drake said the pastor at Tabernacle Baptist Church, where he has been attending, urged the congregation to work for the amendment. Drake was handing out information for the amendment that could be affixed to door handles.
Many voters were confused, Drake said, thinking that a vote for the amendment was a vote in support of gay marriages.
“A lot of interest and a lot of confusion on it, too,” agreed Marny Hendrick, who was working the poll in support of Andrews, the Republican candidate for Rowan County commissioner.
Evans had predicted a 35 to 37 percent turnout in Rowan County.
‘Woke me up’
Larry Wright worked on behalf of Republican commissioner candidates Caskey and Pierce outside the South Locke Precinct, which votes at the Locke Fire Department on N.C. 150.
A Rowan County Planning Board member, Wright was familiar with both men through that board. Wright, who often attends commissioner meetings, said he became involved in local government when Salisbury tried to annex his property.
“The annexation issue sort of woke me up,” he said. “People need to be involved, and I just wish more people would be.”
Wright was for the amendment issue. He predicted it would pass statewide with at least 55 percent of the vote. Late Tuesday night, it was being favored by 61 percent of the state’s voters. In Spencer earlier Tuesday, Crystal Greene was handing out information against the amendment to voters.
The literature said the amendment would end up being harmful to children, dangerous to women and a negative for seniors. Close to 200,000 unmarried male and female couples in North Carolina would be adversely affected, it said.
“People took the literature and had a conversation about it,” Greene said.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.

Comments

Comments closed.

Business

Weak jobs report spurs questions about big fed spending

News

Judge limits footage that family can see of deputy shooting in Elizabeth City

Sports

Woodland, two others share lead; Mickelson plays much worse but will still be around for weekend at Quail Hollow

Business

Former NHL player to open mobster themed bar in Raleigh

Nation/World

California population declines for first time

News

GOP leaders differ on bottom line for state spending

News

Police: Man killed in shootout with officers in Winston-Salem

Crime

Man charged after thieves rob would-be gun buyers of wallets, shoes

Crime

Blotter: Four added to sheriff’s most wanted list

High School

High school football: Some anxious moments, but Hornets win state title

Local

Photos: Salisbury High Hornets win big in 2AA championship game

Local

County manager outlines projections for the upcoming fiscal year budget, suggests uses for stimulus money

Business

Miami-based Browns Athletic Apparel opens second screen printing location in Salisbury

News

At funeral, fallen Watauga deputies remembered as ‘heroes’

Coronavirus

COVID-19 cluster identified at Granite Quarry Elementary

Coronavirus

More than half of North Carolinians have now taken at least one vaccine shot

Local

City hopes to cover expenses in 2021-22 budget with surplus revenue generated this year

Local

Fallen tree proves to be a blessing for local nonprofit Happy Roots

Local

Quotes of the week

Coronavirus

Health department drops quarantine time from 14 to 10 days

Crime

Blotter: More than $100,000 in property reported stolen from Old Beatty Ford Road site

Local

City fights invasive beetles by injecting trees with insecticide

Local

City names downtown recipients for federal Parks Service grant

China Grove

China Grove Town Council weighs 2021-22 budget priorities, supports buying body cameras