Turnout was light Saturday for the 27th Fair Bluff political stumping at its new location at Horne Bay Farms on the outskirts of Fair Bluff. The event is considered a highlight of campaign season in Columbus County. Although no formal nose-counts were taken, several observers said candidates and current office-holders seemed to outnumber members of the public who attended the stumping.
The only opposing candidates to take the stump in contested races were in the sheriff’s race and one county school board race. Incumbent Democratic Sheriff Lewis Hatcher and Republican challenger Jody Green spoke, as did Rashad Roberts, Shane Enzor and Ronnie Strickland, who hope to replace Barbara Yates-Lockamy in a nonpartisan race for the District 2 seat on the Columbus County Board of Education.
Democrat Yates-Lockamy, who is challenging Republican Rep. Brendon Jones for the legislative seat for N.C. House of Representatives District 46, did not attend. Neither did Democrat John Campbell, who is seeking to unseat Republican Sen. Danny Britt for the District 13 state senate seat. Both Jones and Britt were on hand at the stumping. The person elected from the newly-drawn House District 46 will represent roughly the western half Columbus County and portions of Robeson in the legislature, while the District 13 Senate seat covers all of Columbus and Robeson counties.
Pender County Sheriff Carson Smith, the Republican nominee for the new open N.C. House District 16 seat representing the eastern half of Columbus County and all of Pender, attended. His Democratic opponent for the seat, John Johnson, did not attend.
Republican Rep. David Rouzer attended, but neither Democrat Kyle Horton nor Constitutional Party candidate David Falin, who want to replace Rouzer as the 7th District’s representative in Congress, attended.
Also among attendees was former Congressman and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Bob Etheridge, a longtime friend of host Frank Horne. Etheridge often attends the event even when, as is the case this year, he doesn’t hold public office and is not running for an office.
See Tuesday’s print edition of The News Reporter for a full story and more pictures. Even more pictures from the stumping will appear on Page 1-C of Friday’s print edition of the newspaper.