Stan White takes nomination to succeed Basnight

By on January 21, 2011

Former Dare County Commissioner Stan White won the nomination Friday night to succeed outgoing state Sen. Marc Basnight.

White pulled votes from five counties to take the nomination from Arthur Williams in balloting by a Democratic committee representing seven of the eight counties in the 1st Senate District.

Williams held on to all 150 votes from his home county of Beaufort, but White emerged as the consensus candidate, earning unanimous support from Dare, Currituck, Hyde and Washington. He split the Pasquotank tally with Una Green, a delegate who voted for herself.

Former Pasquotank County Commissioner Matt Wood won all 23 of Camden County’s votes.

Two delegates from each of seven counties made up the 14-member Democratic Party 1st Senate District Executive Committee, which met in Columbia. They were allotted votes according to county population. The winner needed at least 258.5 votes.

Here are the results:
White — 284
Williams — 150
Green — 58
Wood — 23

Paul Tine, Virginia Tillett and Kathryn Fagan, all from Dare County, were eliminated in earlier rounds of voting.

State law calls for the party of a departing senator to make a nomination to fill the unexpired term. The committee’s recommendation will be sent to the governor, who must make the appointment within five days or the nominee automatically fills the seat.

Basight was re-elected to a 14th term in November but announced his resignation for health reasons earlier this month.

“It’s going to be learning curve for me,” White said after the vote. “But a little less than for others because of my prior experience on the transportation board.”

White, a member of the state Board of Transportation, said that while jobs are a high priority, the first order of business is for northeastern North Carolina to get caught up with the rest of the state on transportation and economic development.

“It’s a monumental task and we will take it one bite at a time,” he said.

White owns a real estate and construction company in Nags Head. He was chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissioners before he was defeated by Democrat Max Dutton in the 2006 primary.

Fourteen delegates representing seven counties met in Columbia. (Russ Lay photo)

Williams, a former state representative who as defeated in November, told the committee before the vote that he was the logical choice to succeed Basnight.

“I am a conservative Democrat,” he said. “I had the honor of working with and for Sen. Basnight for eight years.”

Tyrrell County was picked for the meeting because it is the geographic center of the 1st Senate District and is considered politically neutral, said Chris Hardee, the party’s 3rd Congressional District Chairman.

Hardee presided over the meeting.

Hardee said the Democrats picked a nominee Friday because they wanted the district represented when the General Assembly convenes on Wednesday.

CountyPopulationTotal votes
Tyrrell4,189Not organized

Dare delegates were Dale Draper and County Democratic Chairwoman Kathy McCullough-Testa, who served as a proxy for Elizabeth Morey.

Basnight lost his position as the state’s longest-serving Senate leader with the historic GOP takeover of both houses of the General Assembly.

The Dare County Democrat said a neurological disease that has affected his speech would hamper his effectiveness to debate as a member of the minority party.

Correction: Max Dutton defeated Stan White in the 2006 Democratic primary for Dare County commissioner. An earlier story on White’s state Senate nomination contained an error.
Reporter’s notebook | Russ Lay
Hurricane Arthur started as a Cat 2 storm but failed to strengthen as the night went on.

Despite Arthur Williams’ attempt at creating a pep rally atmosphere replete with a busload of supporters sporting neon-green stickers, Stan White emerged as the winner.

Going into the balloting, the three largest counties were expected to dominate. Pasquotank’s 116 votes looked to belong to Matt Wood, Beaufort’s 150 to Williams and Dare, with 100 votes, appeared split among four nominees.

Things got interesting early, as surprise nominations came from the 14 delegates. Warren Judge had apparently made the decision not to move forward, and Dare nominated Virginia Tillett, Paul Tine and Stan White.

A Beaufort delegate then nominated Kathryn Fagen, an attorney who lives in Dare, in a surprise move.

Earlier in the day, word leaked out that Una Green, one of Pasquotank’s two delegates, wanted to run and she was nominated by a delegate from another county. Green controlled 58 of Pasquotank’s votes and she voted for herself on each of the three ballots, dooming Wood’s chances.

On the first ballot Dare, split their ballot with 34 for White and 33 each for Tine and Tillett. Fagan received no votes from any delegate, but under the house rules, the candidate with the lowest total could only be dropped after the second ballot. Williams came out on top with 166 votes, adding 16 from Washington County to Beaufort’s 150.

In round two, three candidates failed to garner any votes — Fagan, Tine and Tillett.  Dare gave all 100 votes to White, who also picked up all of Currituck’s 61 votes and half of Washington’s 46 and 19 from Hyde for 203 votes. WIlliams picked up seven extra votes from Washington for a total of 173. Green cast her 58 Pasquotank votes for herself, while Wood hung on with 58 Pasquotank votes and 23 from Camden.

On the third ballot, White won all the delegate votes from Currituck, Dare, Hyde and Washington, and picked up 58 more votes as one Pasquotank delegate switched from Wood to White, giving the Dare Democrat 284 votes and an absolute majority.

Williams was left with exactly what he brought to the dance, 150 Beaufort votes, while Green continued to cast her votes for herself and finished third with 58 votes.


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