Some municipal elections in Robeson County, N.C. had no candidates on the Nov. 7 ballot.
Lumber Bridge and Orrum’s newly-elected mayors were the only write-in candidates on their ballots. According to the North Carolina State Board of Elections, incumbent Mayor William “Skip” Davis of Lumber Bridge won with 18 votes, while incumbent Mayor Wilton Caulder of Orrum won with just two – the only two votes that were cast in person on election day.
Davis has lived in Lumber Bridge since 1989 and served as mayor, unopposed, for 12 years. He owns an automobile repair business. Davis said he believes the small size and elderly population in these towns is what contributes to the lack of political candidates.
G.L. Pridgen, director of Robeson County Board of Elections, laughed and said perhaps nobody wants the job. He said for the past couple of cycles, these two towns have not had anyone run in the election. Although the towns are small — fewer than one hundred people each — he is surprised no one ran.
“It’s advertised nearly enough, and everybody knows every year it’s coming up, and for some reason (in) those two places, people do not take the interest,” Pridgen said. “We run ads in the paper, the newspaper by itself runs it. Everybody knows about it, but I have no idea.”
A write-in has never declined the seat, Pridgen said, so he is unsure what would happen in that situation.
Davis said it is still important to maintain a governing body in these places so they can help move the town forward when the opportunity arrives.
“We’d just like to say that for all the years I’ve served, it’s been a pleasure,” he said. “It has been challenging at times, and even though our town is small, the requirements are quite large in keeping with, you know, the bigger cities and that kind of thing."
Davis said his hope and wish is for more people to move into town and show interest in picking up the reins.