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Burr defeats Marshall to win a second term in US Senate

by Keith Barber

Republican Sen. Richard Burr and his wife, Brooke, wave to the crowd gathered at the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts in Winston-Salem on Tuesday night after his Democratic opponent, Elaine Marshall, conceded the race. (photo by Keith T. Barber)

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Republican Sen. Richard Burr and his wife, Brooke, stood arm in arm and waved to the dozens of cheering supporters gathered inside the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts in Winston-Salem on Tuesday night. Burr had just given a rousing victory speech after becoming the first person re-elected to that Senate seat since Sam Irvin accomplished the feat in 1968.

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Ten minutes earlier, the crowd greeted Burr with generous applause.

A Winston-Salem native, Burr took the stage with his family and announced that his Democratic opponent, Elaine Marshall, had called him earlier and conceded the election. According to unofficial results, Burr defeated Marshall, the NC Secretary of State, by winning 55 percent of the vote.

“We celebrate a great victory tonight,” Burr told his supporters. “I’m aware that I’m the first person re-elected to this Senate seat since 1968. Thank goodness the curse has been broken.”

Burr said he was humbled by his resounding victory. “I’m grateful for the confidence that’s been placed in me,” Burr said. “The results of this election shows that North Carolinians expect Congress to find reasonable and rational solutions to build a better future. I’m ready to lead in the effort to make sure the next generation has every opportunity possible to be successful.”

Burr characterized his decisive win as a referendum on his record in the US Senate, and pledged to “defend all that is right in America today,” and to work to fix all that is wrong.

“Today we set sail with an eye to the future,” Burr said. “Let’s put a firm hand on the helm and set a course towards the rising sun. This is a new day in America and I’m eager to do my part. I commit to you again to be the hardest working United States Senator North Carolina has ever seen.”

Republicans make gains in Forsyth races

The upset of the night in local races was Republican Bill Whiteheart’s narrow defeat of Democratic incumbent Ted Kaplan in the Forsyth County Commission at-large race. According to unofficial results, Whiteheart won 52 percent of the vote to defeat Kaplan.

In the Forsyth County Commission District B race, Republican incumbent Debra Conrad defeated Stan Dean by winning 63 percent of the vote.

In the US House District 5 race, Republican incumbent Virginia Foxx easily defeated Democratic challenger Billy Kennedy, winning 66 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results. In the US House District 12 race, Democrat Mel Watt won a 10 th term in Congress, defeating Republican challenger Greg Dority by winning 68 percent of the vote.

Watt made an Election Day appearance at the Mazie Woodruff Center in Winston-Salem. The congressman said it was important for Democrats to retain control of the US House to advance and support the agenda of President Obama. Watt said a nation can’t dig itself out of a 12-year ditch in just two years “It takes a long time to turn the ship of state around,” Watt said. Democratic incumbent Linda Garrou easily defeated Republican challenger Nathan Jones in the NC Senate District 32 race, and Democrat Earline Parmon cruised to a victory over Republican challenger John Magee, winning 70 percent of the vote.

In the NC House District 74 race, Republican incumbent Dale Folwell triumphed over Democratic challenger Cristina Vazquez by winning nearly 70 percent of the vote.

Folwell’s victory was part of a larger statewide trend as Republicans appeared to take control of the both the NC House and NC Senate.

According to unofficial results, Republicans held 66 seats out of a total of 120 in the NC House and 31 seats out of 50 in the NC Senate.

“Obviously, my responsibilities have gotten wider and deeper with the House changing control,” said Folwell, who won a fourth term in the NC House on Tuesday.

Folwell said he doesn’t see a problem working in a bipartisan way with Democrats in the General Assembly.

“It’s no longer about scorecards; it’s about results and solutions,” Folwell said. The real work of his next term in office will be continuing to listen and come up with common-sense solutions that speak for themselves.

In other Forsyth County races, Republican incumbent Sheriff Bill Schatzman defeated Democratic challenger Jerry Wayne Herron, winning nearly 59 percent of the ballots cast. Democrat Susan Speaks Frye defeated Republican Jeff Polston in the Clerk of Superior Court race. Frye won more than 51 percent of the vote in the tight contest. In the Forsyth County Soil and Water Board race, Toby Bost and Kevin Briggs were the top two vote-getters, and will both serve on the board.

In the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school board race, the makeup of the current board remained exactly the same, as all nine incumbents survived challenges. In the at-large race, board chair Donny Lambeth, Jeannie Metcalf and Elisabeth Motsinger retained their seats, according to unofficial results.

In the District 1 race, incumbents Vic Johnson and Geneva Brown held on to their seats on the board. In the District 2 race, Jill Tackaberry, Marilyn Parker, Jane Goins and Buddy Collins all won another term on the school board.

The Forsyth County Library bond, which will invest $40 million in the replacement, renovation or both of the central library and branch libraries in Clemmons and Kernersville passed by a substantial margin with the support of 58 percent of the electorate.

Election Day snapshot

Forsyth County residents reflected the entire spectrum of political viewpoints on Election Day.

Joseph O’Flaherty voted at Summit School on Tuesday. Flaherty said he voted Democratic because he believes the Obama administration has done the best it could and that Congress has obstructed the president’s agenda.

“I believe that the only course we have is to do exactly what we have been doing the past two years — rescuing the economy,

spending money — and if we hadn’t done it two years ago, we’d be in big trouble today,” O’Flaherty said.

Kenneth Eaton voted at the Mazie Woodruff Center on Tuesday. A veteran, Eaton said he voted for change in leadership this year.

“We have so many people in the world today who run for office but when they get in office, they don’t do anything,” Eaton said.

Cathy Holloway voted at Clemmons Presbyterian Church on Tuesday.

“I think there is going to be a lot of change,” she said. “People are unhappy and they are going to show it at the polls.”

Jeffrey Brown said his main concern in this election was “the economy, our politicians and how they affect business positively or negatively here and abroad.” Standing outside of Clemmons Presbyterian, Brown added that he voted a straight Republican ticket because “I wanted to make sure the conservative voice was heard.”

Also at Clemmons Presbyterian, a woman who asked not to be named said she was most concerned about the US House and Senate races. She voted for Elaine Marshall and Billy Kennedy because she said she doesn’t want to see the Republican Party regain control of Congress.

“They got us in trouble in the first place and they don’t need to be back in control, though as a former social worker I’m more liberal than most,” she said.

Carlos Iruela, a native of Cuba, said he votes in every election.

“Because I come from a country without this level of freedom I always make sure to vote,” Iruela said .

Despite reservations with both major parties, Iruela voted a straight Republican ticket.

“I’m one of those voters who always feels like I’m choosing between the lesser of two evils,” Iruela said after voting at Clemmons Elementary School. “I’m more of a disgruntled Republican than a proud Republican. My religion and concern for Second Amendment rights are the biggest reasons I’m not a Democrat.”

After casting his ballot at Vienna Elementary School in Pfafftown, Robert Bitancor said his biggest concerns were the US Senate and US House races. Bitancor voted for Richard Burr and Virginia Foxx respectively. “I want to see our country move forward in the House and Senate,” Bitancor said. “We’re hopefully going in a new direction after today.”

At Pfafftown Christian Church, a woman who identified herself only as “Angel” said she voted in honor of “men and women that have done their time in prison and paid for their crimes but are unable to reintegrate themselves into society because they can’t get jobs, aren’t allowed to vote or even receive food stamps.”

William Weiss also voted at Pfafftown Christian Church. He said he was mostly concerned about the races for US Senate and Forsyth County Sheriff, and voted for Richard Burr and Bill Schatzman.

Bill Miller, a former chair of the Forsyth County Republican Party, said he was optimistic about his party’s chances in this election.

“[President Obama and the Democratic Congress] are unabated in their spending and are putting our country in a hazardous position concerning the economy and jobs being sent to China,” Miller said. “Americans have the strongest work ethic of [the people of] any country in the world, but the jobs are not here in this country anymore because of corporate and government regulations.”

“I’m also concerned with the Chinese owning a great share of our bonds and currency,” said Miller.

Though a staunch conservative, Miller does not support the tea party because of its Libertarian roots.

Miller said he observed high turnout among senior citizens that he believes indicates their concern for social security and healthcare reform. Miller said he felt certain that Republicans would regain control of the US House and believed they had a good chance to gain a majority in the US Senate as well. Miller said he also felt optimistic about Republicans gaining control of the NC House and NC Senate. Miller is hopeful that if the Republicans gain a majority, Obama’s healthcare reform bill will be revised.

“If Congress changes, I think they will tweak ‘Obamacare’ and leave the good parts in and take the bad parts out,” Miller said.

Marylee Smith, after voting at Rural Hall’s Kingswood United Methodist Church, indicated that the race she was most concerned with was Forsyth County Sheriff. She said she voted for Bill Schatzman because “he has done a good job, I like him as a person and I think he needs to stay in office.”

Doris Williams voted at Northwest Guilford Middle School on Tuesday.

“I think we’re due for another change from what’s been going on the last two years,” Williams said. “People need to get back to work and maybe things will pick up.”

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