Ellmers, Wilkins move on to November contest
By Tom Embrey
One hurdle down, one to go.
Democrat Steve Wilkins and incumbent Republican congresswoman Renee Ellmers will meet each other in November thanks to each candidate winning their respective U.S. Congressional primary on Tuesday night.
Wilkins defeated Toni Morris of Fayetteville by earning 23,940 votes. Morris earned 19,940 and Jim Bibbs, who had pulled out of the race in March but remained on the ballot, garnered 3,179 votes.
Gathered with a handful of his campaign supporters at the train station in Southern Pines Tuesday night, Wilkins described his first campaign as "hard, but fun."
"I met so many different people and learned so many different things during this process," he said.
Ellmers had an easier time against three competitors. She earned 37,209 votes. Her nearest competition, Fayetteville's Richard Speer, earned 19,844 votes.
Vote totals were incomplete and unofficial at press time.
Sonya Holmes, of Broadway, (6,455) and Aberdeen's Clement Munno (2,948) finished third and fourth respectively.
Moore County was key for Wilkins, a resident of Whispering Pines. Wilkins earned more than 4,100 of 6,238 votes cast in Moore County. Morris earned 1,816 votes in Moore County. Bibbs earned 3,179 total votes.
Ellmers also took Moore County easily. She earned 6,387 votes. Speer got 5,186 of the 1,3479 cast.
The two will face each other to represent the redrawn 2nd Congressional District. Under redistricting enacted last year by the N.C. General Assembly, Moore County was moved from the 6th to the 2nd District.
Wilkins called winning Moore County "critically important" to his victory.
"Because I have a lot of friends and supporters in Moore County and Moore County typically has a very high voter turnout," he said.
He believes it will be important again in November.
"Moore County is going to be very important," he said. "Ms. Ellmers doesn't know Moore County very well, but she is an incumbent so I expect her to work very hard."
Wilkins is a 22-year veteran of the U.S. Army, including three tours at Fort Bragg. He is married and the father of two adult children. His wife of nearly 25 years, Meg, works in the Moore County Schools.
He grew up in a family where politics was a common topic of conversation. Wilkins said service to his country is important and he believes it's time for a change in Washington.
He currently works for the The Boeing Co., is a member of the Moore County Chamber of Commerce's Board of Directors, serves on the Whispering Pines Lakes and Watershed Board, and is active in his church.
Ellmers, whose father worked in the auto industry, was born in Michigan. She graduated from Oakland University with a bachelor's degree in nursing, according to biographical information on her campaign website. A year later, working as a surgical intensive care nurse at Beaumont Hospital, she met her husband, Brent, a graduate of the University of Indiana School of Medicine.
While visiting family in Cary, Ellmers and her husband and their son moved to North Carolina. She works with her husband as clinical director of the Trinity Wound Care Center in Dunn.
She served as vice president of community development for the Chamber of Commerce, served on the Dunn Planning Board, the board of the Betsy Johnson Hospital Foundation and the Harnett County Nursing Home Committee.
Contact Tom Embrey at (910) 693-2484 or email@example.com.
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