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A closer look at Rowan’s races for N.C. House

Voter turnout for this year’s midterm election broke records when it came to blue moon elections.

While there were no statewide races to drive turnout — neither gubernatorial nor Senate races, for example — nearly half of Rowan County’s registered voters made it to the polls this year.

This is a near 20 percent jump from the last blue moon election cycle in 2006, when 30.45 percent of registered voters cast their ballots.

Of the throngs making their journeys to the polls on Election Day, poll workers reported that most came informed and prepared to vote. The most popular, lingering question?

“What district am I in?”

North Carolina’s legislative maps for the 2018 election season were influx until July of this year, while lawmakers battled against court-ordered redistricting to eliminate racial gerrymandering.

Maps were redrawn in 2017, with additional changes coming to Senate districts in Cumberland, Hoke and Guilford counties and House districts in Sampson, Wayne and Guilford counties earlier this year.

Under the new map, Rowan County is split among the 76th, 77th and 83rd House districts and in the 33rd Senate District, meaning it gained a representative and lost a senator.

Previously, Rowan fell in the 25th and 34th districts for the Senate and 76th and 77th districts in the House. These were not among those identified as gerrymanders.

While the new Senate district, which includes all of Rowan and Stanly counties, simplified some portions of the ballot this year, an additional House district left many scratching their heads as they reached the polls last Tuesday.

Here’s how the new House districts were broken down, and how voters turned out in each.

House District 76

The newly drawn House District 76 is comprised of all precincts east of and including Rock Grove; Bostian Crossroads; Sumner; South Lock; West Wards I, II and III; Milford Hills City; West Innes and Ellis.

Portions of Bostian Crossroads and Sumner are shared with the newly drawn District 83.

Campaigning to represent the district this year were near-incumbent Republican Harry Warren, who previously represented Rowan in the 77th House District. He faced Democratic newcomer Joe Fowler, a former wildlife resource officer and business owner.

Warren took the district handedly with some 61 percent of the vote, capturing 14 of the district’s 24 precincts.

Fowler’s 10-precinct stronghold rested on and around the county’s seat. It included precincts East Spencer; Spencer; West Wards I, II and III; South Ward; East Ward; West Innes; North Ward and Milford Hills City.

Unofficial voting tallies for the district are as follows:

  • Rock Grove: Warren, 897; Fowler, 178
  • Granite Quarry: Warren, 1,547; Fowler, 612
  • Hatters Shop: Warren, 1,259; Fowler, 413
  • East Spencer: Warren, 33; Fowler, 339
  • Morgan I: Warren, 355; Fowler, 82
  • Morgan II: Warren, 636; Fowler, 117
  • Rockwell: Warren, 1,343; Fowler, 321
  • Gold Knob: Warren, 799; Fowler, 195
  • Spencer: Warren, 472; Fowler, 596
  • Sumner: Warren, 626; Fowler, 367
  • Trading Ford: Warren, 643; Fowler, 237
  • West Ward II: Warren, 530; Fowler, 727
  • West Ward I: Warren, 195; Fowler, 439
  • South Ward: Warren, 532; Fowler, 826
  • East Ward: Warren, 437; Fowler, 859
  • West Innes: Warren, 502; Fowler, 536
  • North Ward: Warren, 637; Fowler, 729
  • Milford Hills City: Warren, 680; Fowler, 757
  • West Ward III: Warren, 22; Fowler, 610
  • Ellis: Warren, 323; Fowler, 321

House District 77

Rowan’s new House District 77 includes most of western Rowan and all of Davie County.

In Rowan, it includes the Blackwelder Park, East Kannapolis, Landis, China Grove, Bradshaw, North Locke, Milford Hills County and Franklin precincts and all precincts to their west.

The Blackwelder Park, East Kannapolis and Landis precincts are split between District 77 and District 83.

Redistricting placed 15-term Republican incumbent Julia Craven Howard into the district by way of Davie County. She went unopposed during the primary and faced Democratic challenger Bonnie Dawn Clark on the November Ballot.

Howard claimed 15 of Rowan’s 16 precincts in the 77th Districts and all of Davie County’s 14 precincts. Clark claimed the split East Kannapolis precinct, with two votes to Howard’s zero.

The pair’s closest race came in the Milford Hills County precinct, where Howard claimed 51 percent of the vote compared to Clark’s 49 percent.

In the end, Howard claimed 72 percent of the vote in Rowan, and 73 percent of the votes between both counties.

Unofficial voting tallies for the 77th District in Rowan County are as follows:

  • China Grove: Howard, 25; Clark, 1
  • West Enochville: Howard, 1,046; Clark, 190
  • East Enochville: Howard, 881; Clark, 162
  • Bradshaw: Howard, 1,673; Clark, 389
  • Steele: Howard, 517; Clark, 133
  • Ulla: Howard, 598; Clark, 181
  • Landis: Howard, 995; Clark, 317
  • Scotch Irish: Howard, 501; Clark, 182
  • Unity: Howard, 606; Clark, 232
  • Franklin: Howard, 1,036; Clark, 469
  • North Locke: Howard, 949; Clark, 436
  • Cleveland: Howard, 503; Clark, 270
  • West Kannapolis: Howard, 489; Clark, 312
  • Blackwelder Park: Howard, 334; Clark, 271
  • Milford Hills County: Howard, 476; Clark, 456
  • East Kannapolis: Howard, 0; Clark, 2

House District 83

The new 83rd District also brought another new face into Rowan County this election year: Rep. Larry Pittman, a 3.5-term Republican incumbent who previously represented North Carolina’s 82nd District in Cabarrus County.

The newly drawn district contains portions of central, southern Rowan and central northern Cabarrus.

In Rowan, it contains portions of the Blackwelder Park, Bostian Crossroads, China Grove, East Kannapolis, Landis and Sumner precincts and the entire Bostian School precinct.

Conservative Pittman claimed all but one District 83 precinct. Sumner, which is split between District 83 and District 76, went to Democratic challenger Gail Young.

Young claimed the Cabarrus portion of the 83rd District with 10 out of 19 precincts, capturing just over 51 percent of the vote.

Overall, the race was the closest of all those for Rowan County North Carolina House seats. Pittman finished with just under 53 percent of the vote to Young’s 47 percent.

Unofficial Rowan County tallies for the race are as follows:

  • Blackwelder Park: Pittman, 16; Young , 7
  • Bostian Crossroads: Pittman, 20; Young , 5
  • China Grove: Pittman, 1,491; Young, 586
  • East Kannapolis: Pittman, 686; Young, 399
  • Landis: Pittman, 539; Young, 175
  • Sumner: Pittman, 1; Young, 5
  • Bostian School: Pittman, 819; Young, 130

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