Incumbent Michael Speciale of Craven County won his third term to represent N.C. House District 3 Tuesday night after beating Democratic challenger Marva Fisher Baldwin, a former educator from Merritt.
Speciale was at the Craven County GOP Headquarters watching the returns come in. There was still a delay on final voting results at about 10:15 p.m. from Craven County because of long lines of people voting in Havelock as the polls were closing and more than 100 provisional ballots were cast.
Unofficial election results have Speciale gathering 64.86 percent of the votes cast, or 23,125, compared to Baldwin’s 35.14 percent of votes cast, or 12,531.
Speciale said he was happy with the results.
“It’s a validation, I think, to the things we have done,” Speciale said. “It confirms to me that when you do what you say you’re going to do that people get behind you and I did what I said I would do and people got behind me.”
Speciale said his victory also came from a lot of people who worked the polls day and night during his campaign.
“I certainly appreciate everything they did and also my family,” he said.
Speciale said there was a “very happy” atmosphere at the GOP Headquarters as the returns started coming in, showing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was leading in a lot of different states.
While he was enjoying the atmosphere, Speciale said Baldwin also called to congratulate him.
“And I congratulated her on how well her race was run,” he said. “There was no animosity. We just told the people what we planned to do and that is the way it should be.”
According to reports filed with the State Board of Elections, Speciale’s campaign outraised Baldwin’s campaign in 2016 by about $5,000 — $13,585 to $8,497.
Early in the day, Speciale, 60, was putting about 120 miles on his car, driving to different polling places in N.C. House District 3 that includes parts of Craven, Beaufort and Pamlico counties. Turnout was steady throughout the day, but there were no long lines, he said.
A little after 6 p.m. Tuesday, Speciale was at the Havelock polls, as was Baldwin. They were making one of their last stops, greeting voters who formed a long line into the polling place.
Speciale said in an earlier interview with the Sun Journal that he would still like to see income taxes in North Carolina eliminated and he would continue working on that. His biggest concerns looking forward are freedom, liberty and the economy. And Speciale stands behind House Bill 2 that requires, among other things, that visitors to schools and other government facilities to use the bathroom of the gender appearing on their birth certificates, he said.
Baldwin, 72, was on the road at 5:13 a.m. on Election Day traveling across District 3, stopping in at polls all over Pamlico, Beaufort and Craven counties. At about 5:30 p.m., she was just arriving at Havelock and planned to watch the returns come in later at her headquarters in Bayboro.
“I talked with poll workers today and they said it was a steady stream of voters all day,” Baldwin said. “I’m really excited about the support I feel I’m getting. ... I do know it is a daunting task, and recognizing the way the district is drawn, it is interesting. I’m just pleased and surprised at all the positive feedback I’ve gotten.”