All three Republican incumbents claim victory in local Senate, House races

Published 11:24 pm Tuesday, November 3, 2020

By Natalie Anderson

SALISBURY — All three Republican incumbents for local N.C. House and Senate seats on Tuesday pulled off comfortable victories.

Rowan County finished election night with strong support for all Republican candidates on the ballot. And by 11 p.m., 73,175 ballots had been cast in Rowan County.

Rep. Harry Warren received 25,360 votes, 61%, for the House District 76 race. His challenger, Salisbury Mayor Pro Tem Al Heggins, received 16,098 votes, or 39%.

A little more than 46,000 votes were cast in the House District 77 race across both Rowan and Davie counties. Rep. Julia Howard received 76%, or 16,725, of those votes from Rowan Countians. Her Democrat challenger Keith Townsend, who’s a retired history teacher from Mount Ulla, received 5,358 votes in Rowan County.

In Davie County, Howard carried 18,296 votes and Townsend received 6,494 votes.

Sen. Carl Ford finished the race for state Senate District 33 with 48,576 votes in Rowan County, and 23,296 votes in Stanly County. His Democrat challenger Tarsha Ellis received 22,523 votes in Rowan County and 7,629 votes in Stanly County.

Ford said this race has been the most unusual one he’s been a part of due to limited in-person events.

“I thank God for it. It’s great to win,” he said.

But while he is happy about the win, Ford said he was concerned for other Republican candidates across the state who weren’t faring as well.

“I want to win it all,” he said.

Warren thanked God, his campaign volunteers, his wife and children for supporting him along the way. And while he felt good pulling off a win, like Ford, he expressed concern for other Republican candidates in the state, calling it a “hollow victory” if Republicans lose the majority in the House. Late Tuesday, House Speaker Tim Moore said Republicans had done just that.

Looking ahead, Warren said his focus will be on working with lawmakers to finalize funding for the state Department of Transportation and making strides with health care without adding to the national debt.

While she was aware the race would be “a heavy lift,” Heggins the team she worked with was “straight up amazing.”

“Our team work has been creative and innovative,” she said. “But the secret ingredient to our work flow is that we are all authentic. We care about people and their lived experiences.”

Heggins also said she was thankful, humbled and respectful of each vote she received and wished Warren congratulations on his victory.

Townsend said he was disappointed because he ran to win but he wasn’t surprised by the loss due to the nature of the district, which gave Republicans a strong advantage.

“I wish the results would’ve been different,” he said.

Townsend added that his campaign was more about the future. Despite the loss, he’s confident his campaign brought new ideas that’ll eventually help the district.

“We feel like we made a difference,” he said. “We felt like it was worth doing and worthwhile.”

Townsend said he enjoyed the experience and learned a lot and appreciated all the support he received, which was more than he anticipated.

“This country is, I hope, on the verge of some changes,” he said.

Howard and Ellis did not respond to a request for comment from the Post by deadline Tuesday night.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

About Natalie Anderson

Natalie Anderson covers the city of Salisbury, politics and more for the Salisbury Post. She joined the staff in January 2020 after graduating from Louisiana State University, where she was editor of The Reveille newspaper. Email her at or call her at 704-797-4246.

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