Warren wins GOP primary for NC House by large margin

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 16, 2016

By a hefty margin, incumbent State Rep. Harry Warren on Tuesday won the Republican primary for the 77th State House District.

With 71.44 percent of the vote, Warren, a human resources consultant, beat University of North Carolina at Charlotte student Andrew Poston, who received 28.56 percent of the vote. Warren doesn’t have opposition in the November general election. As a result, Warren’s victory on Tuesday means he’ll likely serve a fourth term in the N.C. House.

Warren carried every precinct in the 77th N.C. House District. Poston performed best in precinct 14A, which includes Granite Quarry.

Warren said his re-election was validation of his work in the N.C. General Assembly. Although he won by a significant count, Warren said he never took the race for granted.

“I treated it like any other race I’ve been in,” Warren said. “It was a serious challenge to the position. As far as the policy issues went, I think our forum brought some opportunity to discuss policy and give a chance for the constituents, the voters, to make a comparison between the two of us.”

When asked about upcoming work in his likely fourth term, Warren said he’s working on multiple bills, including one that would consolidate multiple forms of gaming into one commission. It would, appropriately, be named the North Carolina Gaming Commission. He said the bill could come up as soon as this year’s short session.

Boxing, forms of bingo and wrestling would be part of the gaming commission.

“If we can bring all of it together under one commission, we can save the state a lot of money and protect our citizens,” Warren said.

He also noted the importance of continuing town hall meetings that he’s hosted regularly at the Rowan County Administration Building in Salisbury.

Poston, who was emotional after the loss, said he appreciated the more than 2,500 people who voted for him. He said the loss was “tough to swallow.”

“Rowan County voters spoke loud and clear tonight,” Poston said.

He said Tuesday’s defeat wouldn’t be his last bid for political office.

“I conceded this race, but I did not concede the fight for the issues I have advocated for,” Poston said Tuesday night. “I will continue to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves — for our school children, for our teachers, for our veterans who are over in the veterans home and languishing because of the poor federal conditions. I’m the voice of those who cannot speak for themselves.”

Poston said he plans on running for the same seat in 2018, regardless of who else runs.

“This is not the death of my political career,” Poston said. “This is just the death of this race. Mark my words. I will be back.”

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.