Home Local News Republicans to control Richmond County Board of Commissioners following 2022 midterm election

Republicans to control Richmond County Board of Commissioners following 2022 midterm election

Jason Gainey and Robin Roberts (top) will join Rick Watkins (bottom left) and Justin Dawkins on the Richmond County Board of Commissioners. (Note: the photo of Gainey was changed after initial publication.)

As Bob Dylan once sang, “The times, they are a’changin’.”

The Richmond County Board of Commissioners will see two new faces following a conservative sweep in Tuesday’s election — setting up the county’s first Republican-controlled board.

Robin Roberts and Jason Gainey, along with sitting commissioners Justin Dawkins and Rick Watkins won the race, each with more than 14% of the vote. Watkins polled the highest with more than 15%.

Early voting set the pace for the rest of the election as results started coming in.

According to the Richmond County Board of Elections, 6,191 of the county’s 28,114 registered voters (22%) took advantage of early voting. In 2020, more than 16,000 (56%) cast their ballots ahead of the election. In 2018, there were 30,424 registered voters.

Watkins was the only candidate to receive more than 3,000 votes in the commissioners race during early voting.

Bostic, Watkins and Dawkins were all up for reelection. Sitting Commissioner Don Bryant lost in the May Democratic primary and was thanked for his service to the board during last week’s meeting.

Bostic and Watkins were both elected as Democrats in 2018. Watkins changed his party affiliation before filing for this election. Dawkins was appointed in late 2020 to fill the unexpired term of Ben Moss, who was elected to the N.C. House of Representatives.

The new commissioners will join Andy Grooms, Toni Maples and Chairman Jeff Smart, who were all elected in 2020.

Also running on the Democratic ticket were Hamlet Councilwoman (and former mayor) Abbie Covington, Michael Legrand and Linda Ross.

But not all Democrats suffered losses in the mid-term.

Clerk of Court Vickie Daniel retained her seat in the race against Ashley Brower, who began the race unaffiliated and had to petition to be on the ballot but later switched to the Republican Party.

Rep. Ben Moss, R-Richmond, was unopposed for his House seat, as was Sheriff Mark Gulledge. Both defeated their respective opponents in the primaries.


As of this writing, Sen. Dave Craven, R-Randolph, was leading the race against Democratic challenger Brooke Crump for the District 29 state Senate seat with more than 70% of the vote.

District Attorney Reece Saunders and District Court Judges Chevonne Wallace and Chris Rhue were also unopposed.

Johnny McInnis and Jerry Mac Snead II were both elected to the Richmond County Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors. Snead is already on the board.

On Monday, the Elections Board approved 46 absentee ballots and rejected two. Chairman Carlton Hawkins said the rejections were based on technicalities.

Absentee ballots are supposed to be signed by two witnesses. One of those rejected only had one signature; and on the other, the second witness neglected to sign.

All results are unofficial until votes are canvassed on Nov. 18.

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Managing Editor William R. Toler is an award-winning writer and photographer with experience in print, television and online media.