Kennedy Springs Upset in Local Primary
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Novice politician Craig Kennedy has pulled off a stunning upset, ousting incumbent Cindy Morgan from the Republican candidacy for the District III seat on the Moore County Board of Commissioners.
In his first run for political office, the Westmoore man defeated Morgan 3,695 to 3,246 in the Tuesday primary election. With no Democratic opposition, Kennedy faces certain victory in the November general election.
Kennedy conducted a low key race, in which he spent less than one thousand dollars, all funded by himself. He said he accepted no donations.
“I am a little surprised and very grateful,” he said in a telephone interview Tuesday night.
He attributed his win largely to one on one contact with the public.
“My family and friends did get out there and stump for me, and I’m really grateful for all they did,” Kennedy said. “It was a good clean race.”
Morgan, who was better known and had the advantage of incumbency, said she had no idea what led to her defeat, although she expressed the opinion that the low turnout at the polls may have been a factor. She admitted disappointment and said she has worked extremely hard, putting in long hours, on county projects and needs, since she was elected three and a half years ago.
She too was surprised at the loss but said she plans to congratulate Kennedy on his win.
Asked if the loss may reflect any sort of backlash from her husband’s sometimes controversial political career, Morgan said she did not know. Her husband, Richard T. Morgan, also went down in his attempt to unseat veteran state Senator Harris Blake in the Senate District 22 Republican primary. The former co-speaker of the state House of Representatives served several terms in the House but was a divisive figure among some GOP leaders.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of Moore County in the past three and a half years, and I have enjoyed working with Chairman (Tim) Lea and the other commissioners,” she said.
Kennedy said he avoided expensive campaign tactics and devoted his resources to distribution of campaign cards and a few signs erected at strategic places. The rest of his campaign money was spent on such expenses as the filing fee and transportation.
“I don’t owe anything to anybody, just to the citizens of Moore County. I will go into office unbeholden to anyone,” Kennedy said. “I look forward to working with the citizens of Moore County.”
Kennedy centered his campaign on the need to promote economic development, with emphasis on the needs of the northern part of the county.
The 37-year old Kennedy is a truck driver hauling bulk feed for Mountaire Farms. A native of Moore County, he returned to his home community a few years ago after working for Federal Express in Greensboro, the Washington, D.C. area, and the Tidewater region of Virginia. He is a 1990 graduate of North Moore High School and of Guilford Technical College.
His wife is the former Keesha Cross of Asheboro, and they have three young daughters.
Morgan is completing the fourth year of her first term on the board. She now serves as vice-chairwoman and also chairs the Board of Social Services.
In recent months she has coordinated efforts to promote cooperation and understanding between the county and municipal governments on water and sewer issues. Describing herself as a fiscal conservative, she has worked for economic development and supported measures to erect buildings to meet the growing needs of the jail and public safety agencies as well as the need for larger and more efficient office space for county agencies.
With a background in nursing, she is associate vice-president for innovation and professional development with the Association of Home and Hospice Care of North Carolina. She holds a Master’s degree in nursing administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She and her husband live in Eagle Springs.
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