LUMBERTON — Burnis Wilkins, a longtime law enforcement officer, won election Tuesday night to the Lumberton City Council. Wilkins was the only successful challenger of three making a bid for the council.
Councilman Erich Hackney was unopposed in Precinct 8.
Wilkins defeated incumbent Jackie Taylor in Precinct 3 by a margin of 52 votes. Both candidates have more than three decades of law enforcement experience.
Wilkins, who once served as the chief of detectives for the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office, retired from law enforcement to run for the council. He could not be reached for a comment, be he did make a Facebook comment.
“Thanks to everyone from Precinct 3 that supported my effort …,” Wilkins wrote on his Facebook page.” Thanks to all of my crew that spent long hours with me going door to door over the last year to get my message out.
“Now my journey begins to join the other councilmen and our mayor in making this city a place to be proud of. To the residents of Precinct 3, my quest to clean up and rid our community of crime and grime begins. An aggressive approach will be forthcoming in meeting that goal.”
Taylor, a former deputy police chief, served on the council for eight years.
“We had a strong fight, but the people opted for change,” he said.
In Precinct 2, incumbent John “Big Wayne” Robinson defeated former Robeson County Manager Ken Windley for a second term. Robinson received 233 votes to Windley’s 25.
“I am surprised,” Robinson said of the margin. “I figured it’d be 50 to 51 percent.”
Robinson said his campaign’s efforts to bring in early voters helped him win despite Windley’s 37 years of government experience.
“I just think that I worked just a little bit harder,” he said. “Experience is good sometimes, but people need to know you. It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.”
According to Robinson, the two remained friends throughout the race.
“I think it was a good clean race,” he said. “I’d like to thank Mr. Windley for being so nice and kind to me.”
John Cantey won a third term representing Precinct 5 by nearly 200 votes over Paul Matthews. Matthews, who works with the Lumberton Housing Authority and is on the city’s Planning Board, had positioned himself as the candidate for change.
“A lot of residents have stated that the opposition talked about change but had no platform to base that change upon,” Cantey said.
Cantey, who is the mayor pro tem, is also vice chairman of the Robeson County Democratic Party.
“I’m honored and humbled by the show of support,” he said. “I want to thank God first and my family, clergy leaders and residents for believing that it’s not time for a change.”
All results are unofficial until canvassed on Tuesday.