It was rookie night in Pender County as Burgaw’s longtime mayor was ousted by a challenger and two newcomers joined the Topsail Beach Board of Commissioners.
One incumbent and two newcomers were voted to the Topsail Beach Board of Commissioners.
Commissioner Julian Bone will return to the board, according to unofficial results of Tuesday’s election. He will be joined by Tom Eggleston, who led with the highest number of unofficial votes, and Morton Blanchard.
Incumbent Grier Fleischhauer lost his seat, one of three open on the board because Commissioner Ed Broadhurst decided not to run for re-election. Steve Smith and Buck Taylor, a former commissioner who lost the mayoral race two years ago, also did not gain enough votes to be seated.
“I thank the people that had the confidence to put me back in,” Bone said in his home, where he accepted congratulatory handshakes from supporters who stopped by throughout the evening. “We just need to keep working and working hard.”
One issue dividing the field was the town board’s decision last year to buy land at Anderson and Davis streets for a proposed Town Center park.
Fleischhauer supported the purchase, but Bone opposed it.
At a candidates’ forum last month, Eggleston said he opposed the park plan. Blanchard said he was “not crazy about the park at all” and the town needed to find another use for the land.
Blanchard said he appreciated everyone who voted for him.
“I’m absolutely ready to do the best I can do for Topsail Beach,” he said.
In Surf City, where the race for two town council seats were uncontested, incumbents and town Councilmen Mike Curley and Doug Medlin were re-seated to the board.
Challenger Eugene Mulligan defeated incumbent mayor Kenneth “Pete” Cowan, who served for more than a decade, in Tuesday night’s elections.
Mulligan said Cowan had one a “wonderful job,” but he thinks voters wanted a change. He said he was pleased with the election results, but nervous about the work to come.
“I’d like to say thank you very much to the voters and I hope I can live up to their expectations,” he said.
Mulligan said he’d like to see a recreation center in Burgaw and the elimination of impact fees in an effort to attract businesses.
Incumbent commissioners Jan Dawson and Howard N. Walker also maintained their seats.
Burgaw commissioners earn $4,200 per year or $350 a month. Burgaw’s mayor earns $4,800 yearly, or $400 a month, and serves a two-year term.
All results are unofficial until the canvass on Nov. 12.