Voters head to polls for congressional, state and county seats


With early voting underway, voters in New Hanover County have been casting ballots since Oct. 17 for a variety of public offices, including for their representative in the North Carolina’s 7th Congressional district, as well as state house and senate seats and the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners. While early voting ends on Saturday, Nov. 3, the general election is Tuesday, Nov. 6. Here are some of the candidates voters can see on the ballot this year.
North Carolina 7th Congressional District
Incumbent David Rouzer is seeking his third term as the representative North Carolina’s 7th congressional district, which includes Wrightsville Beach and the better part of nine counties, stretching up the center of the state from the South Carolina border to the outskirts of Raleigh. The Republican was first elected in 2014 and ran unopposed in the May primary. Rouzer brought congressional, political and government experience to the position, first as staff in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, then as a senior policy advisor for former North Carolina Republican senators Jesse Helms and Elizabeth Dole. After a failed effort in 2000 to win the statewide race for agriculture commissioner, Rouzer was elected to the North Carolina State Senate in 2009, serving two terms before narrowly losing the race for the 7th congressional district seat in 2012 to then incumbent Democrat Mike McIntyre, who retired at the end of that term.
In Congress, Rouzer has become active on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, which provides oversight of key issues to Wrightsville Beach like beach renourishment and maritime transportation. He also serves on the House Agriculture Committee.
Rouzer is challenged by newcomer Dr. Kyle Horton, who is seeking to touting her medical experience to as she runs for representative of North Carolina’s 7th congressional district. Horton is an internal medicine doctor with a business degree and will be Horton’s first attempt at running for a government office. Horton is bringing over a decade of experience from the medical field along with several college degrees, including a bachelors in biology from UNCW, as well as both an MD and MBA from Wright State University.
Horton completed her medical residency at Virginia Commonwealth University before transitioning to her profession as a primary care physician at Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
State Senate District 9
The race for 9th district in the North Carolina State Senate pits Republican incumbent Michael Lee against Democratic challenger Harper Peterson, a former mayor of Wilmington. Lee is serving in his second and full term as state senator after being appointed to the seat in August 2014 to replace retiring senator Thom Goolsby. He is the co-chair of the Committee for Appropriations on Education/Higher Education and currently serves on the N.C. Board of Transportation and State Ports Authority Board. Lee is a local attorney. Peterson served on Wilmington City Council from 1995-1999, and as Wilmington mayor from 2001-2003. Peterson is a partner in several local businesses.
State House District 19
Representing Wrightsville Beach, the 7th Congressional District has been represented by Republican incumbent Robert Theodore “Ted” Davis, Jr. since 2012. Davis is seeking his seventh term in the House. Davis touts years of experience from his time as an assistant New Hanover County attorney, assistant state district attorney, and assistant United States attorney before established his solo law practice in 1984.
Davis is being challenged by Democrat Marcia Morgan, a first-time candidate. Morgan, a retired educator and U.S. Army colonel, served for 25 years before retiring from the military, where her experience included two assignments at the Pentagon. Morgan earned a mathematics degree from Texas Wesleyan College and a graduate degree from Ohio State University before taking an administration role at Smith College in Northampton, Mass.
State House District 20
Incumbent Republican Holly Grange is seeking her second full term in the North Carolina House after being appointed in August 2016 to replace Rick Caitlin, who retired that same month.
Grange was selected as Deputy Conference Leader for the House Republican Caucus and serves as Co-Chair of the House Select Committee on NC River Quality. Additional committee assignments include: Base Appropriations; Appropriations Education Sub-Committee; Commerce and Job Development; Education K-12; Homeland Security and Military and Veterans Affairs; Regulatory Reform; Transportation. Rep. Grange is an NRA pistol and rifle instructor and is a North Carolina concealed carry instructor. Grange graduated from the United States Military Academy at Westpoint.
Grange is being challenged by Democrat Leslie Cohen, a first-time candidate. Cohen is a local artist and graphic designer. Cohen entered Emory University after 10th grade through their early enrollment program and continued her undergraduate studies for 4 years, attending University of Georgia, Georgia State University, and Emory University.
New Hanover County Board of Commissioners
To fill two seats on the county’s board of commissioners, voters will have a choice of four candidates, with both incumbents running to retain their seats.
Republican incumbent Skip Watkins is the current vice chairman of the New Hanover County Board of Commission. Watkins is an investment advisor with Capital Investment Group. He is an adjunct economics instructor with the University of Mount Olive. He has been involved with the management of the Cape Fear Fair and Expo and the NC Azalea Festival as Committee Chair since 1990.
Democratic incumbent Rob Zapple is a general contractor and owner of his business, Rob Zapple Design and Build Inc., and he is a residential and commercial builder throughout New Hanover County and the Cape Fear region. Zapple is a graduate of the University of Virginia
Democrat Julia Olson-Boseman is seeking to return to the board, having served as a commissioner from 2000 to 2004 before serving three terms as NC state senator. Republican Eric Lytle attended UNC Chapel Hill and received his B.S. in Biology. After he graduated, he worked at Duke University Medical Center in the Orthopedics and Sports Medicine department. He worked in sales for IBM in Raleigh, and started work as a financial advisor in 2002.

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