According to uncertified results from the North Carolina State Board of Elections, Republicans on Tuesday swept Democrats by comfortable margins in all of the contested local races, including for the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, three seats on the local Board of Commissioners, and three seats on the Board of Education.
Interim Sheriff Brian Estes won handily over Democratic challenger Carlton Lyles 66.38 percent to 33.62, winning his first full term after being appointed to replace Republican Tracy Carter, who stepped down in late 2021.
Republicans swept the contested races for the Lee County Board of Commissioners, with Republican chairman Kirk Smith topping Democrat John Kirkman 60.58 percent to 39.42 in District 2, Republican incumbent Andre Knecht turning back Democratic challenger Kate Woods 66.79 percent to 33.21, and Republican Taylor Vorbeck defeating Democrat Larry “Doc” Oldham 52.73 percent to 47.27 in District 4. Democrat Robert Reives Sr. was unchallenged in District 1, and carried 100 percent of the vote. The results mean the GOP will retain control of the board by a 4-3 margin.
On the school board, where voters could choose up to three candidates, Republicans also swept, with Eric Davidson leading the pack with 19.5 percent of the vote, Alan Rummel coming in with 18.55 percent, and Chris Gaster garnering 18.5 percent. Incumbent Democrats Pat McCracken and Christine Hilliard came in fourth and fifth, with 15.15 percent and 14.63 percent, respectively, and Democratic challenger Walter Ferguson finished sixth with 13.67 percent. The board’s majority will shift from a 4-3 Democratic majority to a 5-2 Republican majority.
Additionally, Lee County’s delegation to the state legislature stayed in Republican hands, with Republican state Senator Jim Burgin topping challenger Richard Chapman 63.6 percent to 36.4, and Republican House Representative John Sauls defeating Democrat Malcolm Hall 65.17 percent to 34.83.
Susie Thomas, Lee County’s Democratic incumbent Clerk of Court, was uncontested and won with 100 percent of the vote.
The Rant has reached out to candidates for comment on their races and will update this post as updates come in.
UPDATE: Kirk Smith sent the following statement to The Rant: