Crump, King join incumbent commissioners Barbee, Lawhon in primary victories

County commissioners Bill Lawhon and Mike Barbee held strong and won re-election during Tuesday night’s Republican primary election while two others, Lane Furr and chairman Tommy Jordan, came up short.

Patty Crump

For the At-Large race, challenger Patty Crump, who is a former teacher and also served four years on the Stanly County school board, defeated Furr, who was seeking his second term, taking 44 percent of the electorate with 3,246 votes. Furr came in second with 3,047 votes while Leon Warren, running for the second time for a seat as a commissioner, received 1,286 votes.

Crump had trailed Furr for much of the night — Furr led by more than 100 votes after early and absentee by-mail ballots were counted — before pulling away as more favorable precincts were counted.

“It’s exciting,” she said about the results, noting she was at peace with whatever the outcome was.

“As much as I wanted to win, I had given this over to God and I knew I had done all that I could do and at this point it was in the voter’s hands and if God needed me here he would put me here and if not, he would put me on a different path,” she said.

“I really enjoy being in a position of service and I want to go back and do that again,” she continued. “It felt good to talk with people about their concerns.”

She is looking forward to working with the rest of the team of commissioners and other agencies within the county, especially the school system.

“I hope that we can partner with SCS and work closely for positivity for our kids,” she said. “They’ve had a hard two years with COVID, so I hope we can work together with them to help get the students back to a place where we’re not talking about lost learning, but we’re talking about successes again.”

Mike Barbee

For the Board of Commissioners District 1, Mike Barbee, who first took office in 2018, won relatively easily, acquiring 41 percent of the electorate (3,100 votes) to Levi Greene’s 34 percent (2,553). Locust city councilman and former police chief Mike Haigler came in third with 1,919 votes. Barbee received more early votes, absentee and Election Day votes.

“After having two very good opponents run against me, whom I consider both good friends, it was tough and nerve-wracking,” Barbee said about the race.

For his second term, which begins in January, he is looking forward to attracting more jobs, along with working to preserve farmland.

Bill Lawhon

Two-time incumbent and former chairman Bill Lawhon has secured a third term as he defeated Thomas Townsend and Jon Ledbetter in the District 2 race. He won decisively with 54 percent of the electorate (4,114 votes), more than double the total number of votes both Townsend (2,832) and Ledbetter (719) received.

“The campaign took a lot more effort on my part,” Lawhon said. “But the citizens again spoke that they support me and I really appreciate the citizens that voted for me. For the citizens that didn’t vote for me, I still work for you. For the ones that didn’t vote, I work for them as well, working for the betterment of the county.”

He said moving forward what was important to him was “making sure that our farmland doesn’t get eaten up with housing developments like Cabarrus and Union County….I will continue to push to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
“We need to improve our infrastructure so we can grow in places where we have water and sewer,” he added. “I’m against developing property and downsizing lots for developers that want smaller lots so they can make money with more houses. I’m for citizens, not developers.”

Brandon King

Chairman Tommy Jordan, who was trying to win a second term, was handily defeated by challenger Brandon King, who received almost 60 percent of the vote in the District 3 race. He won with 4,584 votes to Jordan’s 3,116.

Jordan had a 30-vote edge when it came to the absentee by-mail ballots but was soundly defeated in every other measure including by more than 1,600 Election Day votes.

“We had a great voter turnout,” said King, who enjoyed meeting residents as they cast ballots, “and tonight after the polls closed, it was an anxious feeling not knowing…and we waited patiently and I’m just thankful things worked in our favor tonight.”

King said Jordan, whom he called a “great opponent,” called and congratulated him after the race and said he would do anything necessary to make sure the transition is “as easy as possible.”

He is looking forward to working with the county staff and wants to make sure they stay in Stanly and don’t move to surrounding counties.

“I want to make Stanly County a great place for them to come to work every day,” he added.

Jordan said he looks forward to helping King learn the ropes as he begins his tenure as a commissioner.

“He is my commissioner for the next four years, starting in December,” Jordan said. “So if I have a chance to help him and I don’t, what kind of moron does that make me?”
“I wish him the best of luck,” Jordan added.

Only about 9,200 people out of around 43,000 registered voters cast ballots during the primary election, higher than in May 2018, when about 8,800 people voted, but much lower than the 2020 primary, which was also a presidential election year, when more than 12,000 people voted.

More than 3,400 people participated in either one-stop early voting or cast ballots by mail during the primary season, accounting for about 37 percent of the total electorate.

Charles Curcio contributed to this report.