Cameron Upsets Clack for School Board; Picerno Wins Big
By JOHN LENTZ
Newcomer Ben Cameron upset longtime Moore County School Board member Lorna Clack Tuesday night, meaning one new face on that board.
The outcome was much more predictable in the sole competitive race for the Board of Commissioners, where Republican incumbent Nick Picerno easily defeated Democratic challenger Ellen Marcus, according to complete but unofficial returns.
Cameron won the District 1 school board race after his narrow defeat of Clack. In unofficial totals, Cameron received 52 percent of the vote to Clack's 47.
Cameron, who in an earlier interview said he had hoped to bring "a fresh perspective" to the board, said he was "extremely excited" by the victory.
"As a first-time candidate I didn't really know what to expect," he said. "It's difficult to unseat an incumbent, especially in a time of no unrest. I had high hopes, and am happy to have won this election."
Cameron said that his first priority as a board member will be to "get up to speed" on issues that concern the school system.
"I will be learning a lot in order to make informed decisions, and getting better acquainted with everything involved with the board and the school system," he said. "I am humbled by the confidence the voters placed in me and will do all I can for the children of Moore County."
Clack said she will "always" be helping the children in Moore County in some capacity.
"I am pleased to know that thousands of voters in Moore County were kind enough to vote for me," she said. "I am proud of the work I've done, and as a former chair and vice chair, I point with pride to the new schools built and the wide, sweeping -renovations made to facilities during my time on the board. I am also proud to have played a part in bringing Superintendent Aaron Spence to Moore County.
"I will never be separated from Moore County Schools," she said, "and will always do what I can to help the children, especially in literacy. I plan to be helping the children of Moore County for the rest of my life."
Clack has had six years of service as a board member. A former educator, she was elected vice-chair on Dec. 4, 2006, when she first joined the school board. She was elected school board chair on Dec. 3, 2007, and was again chosen to be vice-chair on Dec. 6, 2010. She serves on the Legislative/Policy and Curriculum committees.
Three other board seats were on the ballot as well, but Kathy Farren in District 2, Laura Lang in District 4, and Bruce Cunningham in District 5 all ran unopposed.
The Moore County school system includes 23 schools, 12,700 students, 1,800 employees, and a total annual budget of more than $100 million.
The result of the county race was less -surprising. Following the advice displayed on his political placards, voters "Pick(ed) Nick" Picerno for a second four-year term as a -member of the Moore County Board of Commissioners. Unofficial results show that the Republican incumbent defeated Democratic newcomer Ellen Marcus by a 63 to 36 percent margin with all precincts reporting.
"It's been quite a night," Picerno said soon after learning he had won. "I'm relieved, and I have a great deal of respect for Ellen Marcus and all the hard work she put into her -campaign. I share a lot of the values that she holds, and I look forward to working hard for the people of Moore County. It is a great honor to be a county commissioner in this county."
Picerno, a Moore County native who lives in the Seven Lakes area, served two terms as chairman of the Board of Commissioners in 2008 and 2011. Running on a platform of fiscal conservatism and governmental accountability, he is a member of the Board of Health, the Local Emergency Planning Committee, the Emergency Services Advisory Committee, the Workforce Development Board, the Department of Social Services Board of Directors, and the Veterans Memorial Advisory Committee.
"I value every dollar, and believe that government has to have a proper role in funding that balance," he said. "All I know is to do what I know how to do."
Marcus said she was proud of the hard work she and her husband had done.
"I've been all over the place campaigning, and I'm tired," Marcus said. "We only spent $4,000 in the -campaign, which I think is pretty impressive. I hope Mr. Picerno will continue promoting -education in the county, as he said he would do, and I hope to see positive things from the county."
The District 5 position on the county board will be assumed by Republican Randy Saunders, who ran for the position unopposed after current commissioner Tim Lea decided not to seek re-election.
Contact John Lentz at (910) 693-2479 or email@example.com.
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