Republicans Out In Force In Wake County
Posted November 6, 2002
WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — There are 30,000 more registered Democrats in Wake County than Republicans, but that did not stop the GOP from a clean sweep of the county commissioners' races.
The faces on the county board of commissioners are about to change as well as their political views.
"We were 5-2 in favor of Democrats. The new board is 5-2 in favor of Republicans," commissioner Linda Coleman said.
Coleman lost her seat, but she said she does not think the turn of the board had much to do with issues.
"It was simply party votes," she said. "We just got caught up in everything else: the judges, the Senate, the House, we just got caught up in it."
Republicans believe a nearly 55 percent voter turnout in Wake County was the key to a GOP victory.
"It's a year where people wanted change," said Conway Brooks of the Wake Republican Party. "We took clerk of court, sheriff, all four county commissioners and we took six of the nine House races."
Republicans managed to cash in on crossover votes and they lobbied hard for unaffiliated voters.
"Those people actually get out and vote for who they feel the best candidates in individual races will be," Brooks said.
Herb Council was the only incumbent commissioner to win handily.
"I was surprised at the margin I won by," he said.
Council said he has an idea as to why so many Republicans got the green light.
"That was a very active campaign between Elizabeth Dole and Erskine Bowles and that got people interested," he said.
The Republican Party came out strong in the commissioners' races, but also in the U.S. Senate race. Experts say Dole won Wake County, partly because Republicans hit the polls, but also because there are 30,000 more registered female voters than male voters.