LUMBERTON — Robeson County’s incumbent state senator was easily re-elected Tuesday, but the county’s lone Republican House member was defeated.
Sen. Michael Walters, a Democrat from Fairmont who has represented District 13, outpolled W. Bernard White Jr., his Republican challenger from Whiteville, by more than 28,000 votes. District 13, which consisted of Robeson and Hoke counties before the Republican-dominated General Assembly drew new voting districts, now includes Robeson and Columbus counties.
According to the unofficial vote count, Walters received 45,747, or 72.37 percent, of the total 63,217 votes cast in both counties. In his home county of Robeson, Walters received 31,274, or 77.73 percent, of the 40,232 votes cast.
“I look forward to continuing to serve the people of the district, working on issues of education, jobs and the economy,” Walters said. “I have to think that the number of votes I received indicates that the people know that I listen and know the needs of District 13.”
White could not be reached for comment.
Walters has served in the Senate since being appointed by Gov. Beverly Perdue in 2009 to fill the unexpired term of David Weinstein.
Walters told The Robesonian on Tuesday that Robeson and Columbus counties, since both are rural, have similar issues that need to be addressed. He stated that the development of agri-tourism is going to be important for moving the economies of both counties forward.
G.L. Pridgen, the Republican incumbent House District 46 representative, lost his bid for a second term to Democrat Ken Waddell, the current mayor of Chadbourn.
District 46, which until recent redistricting encompassed Robeson, Scotland and Hoke counties, now consists of Robeson, Columbus and Bladen counties. In the new district, registered Democrats significantly outnumber registered Republicans.
Waddell captured 17,981, or 54.02 percent, of the 33,286 votes cast in the three counties. Pridgen received 15,305 votes, or 45.98 percent of the votes.
Pridgen collected 64.26 percent of the 7,120 votes cast in Robeson County.
A political newcomer, Pridgen was elected in 2010, ousting long-time state lawmaker Doug Yongue.
“I expected a tight race because of the climate of this year’s election,” Waddell said. “From the top down, a lot of Democrats this year voted for Republicans.”
Waddell, a retired high school agricultural teacher, described himself Tuesday as a “big proponent of public school education.”
“I don’t know how much I will be able to deliver, but I’d like to see more funding for the public schools,” he said.
Pridgen could not be reached for comment.
Voters on Tuesday also re-elected incumbents Rep. Charles Graham of District 47, Rep. Garland Pierce of District 48, and Ken Goodman of District 66, all Democrats. All of the incumbents were unopposed.
As a result of redistricting, District 66 now includes a small part of northeastern Robeson County.