There’s still some work to do at the polls, as Lumbees on Tuesday will elect a tribal chairman and seven Tribal Council representatives. All the indications are that the turnout will be pitiful, the consequence of infighting that seems to never end despite the constant “unity” cry from members of the Lumbee Tribe. We would be pleased to be wrong.
Now a final glance at Tuesday’s election.
n In Robeson County, President Obama ran strong, buoyed by a strong local turnout of black voters. Obama won 58 percent of the ballots, which was 4 percentage points better than he managed in Robeson County during the 2008 election. We wondered in advance of the election which way American Indians would break, and Obama won both Pembroke precincts, Prospect and Philadelphus, but by small margins. Turnout among Indians was very weak.
n Tom Taylor won re-election to a fourth term as the commissioner of District 7 with more than 68 percent of the vote, turning back a challenge from Republican and first-time candidate Dennis Harrell. District 7 voters didn’t take Taylor to task for any role he played as the commissioners’ pay and perks have ballooned during the past decade.
We are sure other commissioners were paying keen attention. What some — not all — fear the most is the ballot box, but Tuesday’s results suggest folks are OK with money being spent as long as it’s spent on them.
County Manager Ricky Harris has said his study on pay and perks that commissioners in other counties receive will be presented to the local board on Nov. 19. If in the end the commissioners do little or nothing to roll their compensation back, it won’t be hard to understand why.
n Robeson County lost a good representative in Raleigh when G.L. Pridgen became the only Republican state House member in the state to be denied re-election. Pridgen is a determined conservative who was learning his way around the General Assembly, and with that body firmly in the GOP’s hands and a new Republican in the governor’s mansion, was poised to advocate effectively for Robeson County. But Republicans did him no favor when redrawing districts — Pridgen won Robeson County by more than 2,000 votes, but he couldn’t overcome the Democratic strength in neighboring Columbus County.
n That leaves Robeson County dark blue in a red state, with all four of our local legislators Democrats. State Sen. Michael Walters, a moderate, has his work cut out in Raleigh, as the lines are less Democrat vs. Republican than they are urban vs. rural. But Walters is energetic and capable.
n The Tuesday vote might actually elevate Robeson County’s pull in Washington. If U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre, a Lumberton native and Democrat, can survive a recount with Republican David Rouzer to win a ninth term , and our calculation is that he will, this county will enjoy two House representatives — McIntyre in District 7, and Richard Hudson, a newly elected Republican in District 8 — with local ties.
n A little bit of housekeeping: In our precinct-by-precinct chart that was published last Wednesday, the totals for two polling sites — Lumberton 11 and Lumberton 11A — were combined and placed under Lumberton Precinct No. 1. The only race in which that could be considered misleading was for a District Court judgeship between incumbent Judith Milsap Daniels and challenger Rodney Oxendine.
Oxendine won the combined vote, 843 to 781, but Daniels ran stronger in Lumberton 11, which is North Lumberton, 615 to 594, and Oxendine carried Lumberton 11A, which is the Clybourn Pines area, 249 to 166.
n Fifty-four percent of Robeson County’s registered voters — about 41,000 — turned out to vote last Tuesday, which was slightly less than the national average of 57 percent. Not bad. Locally, about 41 percent of the ballots were cast during early voting.
Until next time.