Winners look ahead
(pictured above: Stacey Rubain (second from right) poses with supporters and friends (from left): Justin Hurie, Renu Syal, Bryan Mosley and Angela Townsend.)
After months of stump speeches, photo ops and politically-charged tweeting, a battle worn, yet spirited crowd of Democrats gathered at Foothills Brewing on Fourth Street Tuesday night to wait for primary election returns.
Complete but unofficial results showed that Deanna Taylor, the wife of City Council member James Taylor, and longtime incumbent Vic Johnson will represent District 1 on the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education. Taylor, a teacher’s assistant, received the most votes (33 percent) in the four-person contest. The two Democrats face no opposition in the general election.
The night’s other School Board victors are now gearing up for the general in November. In the at-large category, incumbent Elisabeth Motsinger led a field of five with 33 percent of the nearly 34,000 votes cast. She and second and third-place finishers Katherine Fansler and German D. Garcia will try to break the Republican hold on the School Board.
“What I’m really excited about is seeing some of these other candidates do so well,” she said, referencing Garcia and Fansler. “I worked really hard with Katherine and I supported German, and I feel good to see how well they’re doing.”
The three Dems will face off against Republican incumbent John Davenport Jr. and fellow conservatives Robert Barr and Mark Johnson for the three available at-large seats.
If he is victorious this fall, Garcia, the president of the Forsyth County Hispanic American Democrats, will be the county’s first Latino school board member.
Garcia said he hopes to be a unifying voice on the school board.
“I’ve been welcomed everywhere. I have gotten support from the blacks, the whites, the Hispanics – everyone. If that is a showing of how things will work, I just love it,” he declared. “That’s what I like to do – bring unity. I love it.”
Fansler, a mother, grandmother and homeschool teacher to her eight year-old grandson, who has special needs, said running her first political campaign has been an eye opening experience for her.
“I’m feeling really grateful, certainly, because it was through this campaign that I’ve discovered this community and my place in it,” she remarked. “Whatever happens, I will forever be changed and look at things differently and be motivated to make a difference.”
In the urban District A of the Forsyth Board of County Commissioners, incumbents Everette Witherspoon and Walter Marshall sailed to victory, overcoming challenger Donald Scales in the heavily Democratic district. Both men can now breathe easily, as there are no Republicans registered to challenge them in the district. A familiar name pulled off an upset victory in District B. Dr. Don Martin, former superintendent of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, beat incumbent Mark Baker.
In the nonpartisan judicial races, where the top two competitors go on to the General Election, Ted Kazakos and Valene Franco earned their places on the ballot for the District 21 District Court judgeship this fall. Kazakos commanded over 46 percent of the vote in the five-way race, while Franco, a managing attorney in the Family Law Department at Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Winston-Salem office and former president of both the Winston-Salem Bar Association and the Forsyth County Bar Association, came in second with just under 24 percent.
In the District 21 Superior Court race, Richard Gottlieb took the top spot by a healthy margin, winning more than 64 percent of the vote. Attorney Stacey Rubain was ahead of Donna Taylor by a few dozen votes, likely earning her place to fight for the Superior Court seat in the General Election.
Rubain, who has been practicing for 15 years, said she ran in part because she believes there needs to be more female voices on the Superior Court bench. Win or lose, Rubain said she hoped her campaign would make a statement that women are qualified, and deserving, of serving in that capacity.
“There’s just a dearth of women Superior Court judges across the state,” noted Rubain, who was surrounded by a host of friends and supporters as she watched the results come in. “…We need to stop that because we represent over 50 percent of the population. We need to be at the forefront.”
In the hotly-contest 12th Congressional District Democratic race, State Rep. Alma Adams won Forsyth County and much of the rest of the District, which snakes through six counties. District-wide, she garnered 44 percent of the vote – enough to avoid a runoff. She will face Republican Vince Coakley in November.
Josh Brannon won the Democratic Primary in the Fifth Congressional District, edging second-place finisher Gardenia Henley by eight percentage points. He failed to get 40 percent of the vote, however, setting up a likely runoff. The winner will face Republican incumbent Virginia Foxx.