Rockingham Mayor Gene McLaurin, a Democrat, defeated Republican Gene McIntyre, a commissioner in Stanly County on Tuesday.
With four of the district’s five counties of the 25th NC Senate District reporting, McLaurin led McIntyre by 53 percent to 47 percent, or 43,732 to 39,090, according to unofficial returns. The men were vying to replace retiring Scotland County Democratic Sen. Bill Purcell of Laurinburg.
“I’m very pleased and grateful to the people of the district and to the people of Scotland County and excited about the opportunity to go to Raleigh and represent the district,” McLaurin told the Exchange late Tuesday evening.
In Scotland County, voters chose McLaurin by a total of 8,902 to 4,560.
The Richmond County-based business man said that he had not yet received a concession call from McIntyre at 10:30 p.m. but commended McIntyre for a hard fought campaign.
“We had a good campaign and we talked about the important issues. I certainly enjoyed having the opportunity to discuss the issues with (McIntyre) like we did at the recent public forum in Scotland County,” McLaurin said.
“I look forward to spending a lot of time in Scotland County,” said McIntyre, pledging to work to bring jobs to the rural areas of his district.
McLaurin said that he was “pacing the floor all night” as results trickled in for the district, adding that he was finally able to breathe easy when the final precincts reported in McIntyre’s home base of Stanly County.
Throughout the campaign McLaurin boasted his businessman credentials, saying that the group problem solving skills he learned as president of Swink-Quality Oil were needed in Raleigh.
A career educator, McIntyre preached conservative principles of deregulation and lower taxes since winning his party’s nod earlier this year.
Although their plans of action differed, both agreed that bringing jobs to the district should be a priority.
Of interest to Scotland County voters, McLaurin said in a recent forum that he would only introduce legislation to eliminate the county’s school system funding formula, a.k.a. “the school floor,” if both the board of education and the board of commissioners came to him with an agreement.
A single precinct remained unreported in Richmond County at press time.