Oakboro elects mayor, three council positions

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, November 9, 2022

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Current Oakboro Commissioner Chris Huneycutt will succeed the town’s long-time mayor Joyce Little in December.

Huneycutt won decisively over challengers Lisa Cratty and Bobby Watkins, garnering 470 of the 818 votes cast (57%).

“I’m really appreciative of the support of Oakboro’s citizens,” said Huneycutt by phone late Tuesday night, noting that he has “big shoes to fill” in following Little.

Huneycutt, who is currently midway through a four-year term on the Oakboro Board of Commissioners, also explained the process by which a successor will be named to complete the remaining two years of his term.

“I’ll maintain my seat through the end of this year, after which the new commission will appoint a citizen to fill my spot,” he said. “I certainly appreciate the opportunity to serve the people of Oakboro, and their confidence in allowing me to do so.”

In a seven-person race for three commission seats, incumbent Larry (Bud) Smith, candidate Brett Barbee and former councilwoman Latoya Jackson captured 60% of the votes cast to earn the three open seats on the board.

Only 24 votes separated the top three, with Barbee (459) the top vote-getter, followed by Smith (446) and Jackson (435).

Remaining candidates Joey H. Carpenter (351), Fred Smith (195), Lee M. Huntley (165), and Charles (Chip) Osborne (121) accounted for the remaining 40%.

Barbee, who led the field, said he felt “in shock” when reached by phone late Tuesday night.

“I’m thankful to those who supported me, and also thankful to all the voters of Oakboro for the huge turnout at the polls today,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to serving,” Barbee continued, adding that the commissioners must move forward by “developing a team mentality and working together,” noting that “we have several things coming across our plate in the near future.”

Barbee also expressed optimism for the future, mentioning the benefits that Oakboro will see from the opening of the Charlotte Pipe and Foundry facility.

“People are already seeing the good that Charlotte Pipe has done,” he said.

Incumbent Commissioner Larry (Bud) Smith was elected to a second term in Tuesday’s balloting, and also expressed thanks to the entire town for its interest and involvement in the electoral process.

“I’m really appreciative and honored to have the support and confidence of the Oakboro citizens to be reelected,” said Smith.

“This election generated a great deal of interest and that indicates care and concern for Oakboro’s future,” he added.

Latoya Jackson will join Barbee and Smith on the Oakboro Commission in December.

“I’m excited to be back on the board,” said Jackson by phone on Wednesday morning, “and I just want to thank all those who supported me at the polls.”

Jackson said her goals as a commissioner would be to “do what’s right” for the people of Oakboro.

“We’ve got a lot of changes occurring here, and we want the change to happen in the way the citizens want it to occur,” she said.