HOLLY RIDGE l Most of this small, Onslow County town’s 1,491 registered voters took a pass on voting in Tuesday’s Municipal Election but those who cast ballots favored incumbent Mayor Anita Dingler over challenger Lance Sustaita.
Voters said yes to Dingler giving the incumbent mayor another term. Dingler defeated challenger Sustaita by nearly a two-to-one ratio with a count of 101 to 50.
In 2013, Dingler fought off two challengers — Kenneth Roe lll and Joe Edwards capturing 125 votes to Roe’s 51 write-in votes and Edwards 45 votes. The 151 votes cast in the top-of-the-ballot mayor’s race gives an unofficial voter turnout of just over 10 percent.
“I’m excited and a little overwhelmed,” Dingler said in a phone interview as the final numbers were posted online. “I’d like to thank everyone who came out and voted. We had a good turnout based on this type of election. I want to work for every citizen of Holly Ridge and help do what’s best for the town as we grow and move forward.”
In the race for a seat town’s council, three candidates vied for two open seats.
Incumbent Greg Hines was the top vote getter with 128 followed by Kelly Collins who garnered 82 votes. Political newcomer Calvin Sniff came in third with 52 votes.
“I am pleased and definitely thankful for everyone that voted for me. It’s always good to win and even better to be the top vote getter. I’m really appreciative that people have enough faith in me to serve,” Hines said two hours after the polls while in the process of removing his campaign signs.
Kelly Collins first ran for a council seat in 2013, placing ninth in a nine candidate field with 60 votes. Tuesday, Collins placed second behind Hines and earned a seat on the council collecting 82 votes.
David Beatty, a Holly Ridge resident and landscaper by trade came out to cast a vote and show support for Greg Hines, who is trying to retain his councilman’s seat.
“He’s always had a level mind,” Beatty said of Hines who first ran for office in Holly Ridge and won in 1974.
Chris Lepper and Mary Klohr, new residents from Holly Ridge who arrived in 2015, cast votes early Tuesday evening.
“We came out to vote because we want to participate. It’s a good idea to do this,” Lepper said.
Watching the candidates attempt to engage the voters as they arrived was current Holly Ridge Councilwoman and Mayor Pro-Tem Rena Bragg. Pondering for a moment the significance of a light voter turnout, Bragg said, “It’s going to be whatever God intends.”
Election night results remain unofficial until a canvass of votes by the Onslow County Board of Elections on Nov. 17 is completed.
Reporter Mike McHugh can be reached at 910-219-8455 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.