Randleman retains local Senate seat

By Tom Joyce - tjoyce@civitasmedia.com


Sen. Shirley Randleman joined her fellow member of the state legislative delegation serving Surry County, Rep. Sarah Stevens, in sailing to victory Tuesday.

That ensures the pair will spend at least two more years together in the N.C. General Assembly.

Randleman’s winning margin in the 30th Senate District was almost a carbon-copy of that for Stevens.

In Randleman’s case, the incumbent Republican who lives in Wilkes County unofficially garnered 58,913 votes (73 percent), outdistancing Democrat Michael W. Holleman, also a Wilkes resident, to win re-election to her third term in the state Senate.

Holleman collected 22,148 votes (27 percent).

The 30th District that Randleman represents includes Surry, Stokes and Wilkes counties, a total of 77 precincts.

Randleman was equally dominant among Surry County’s 29 precincts, where her unofficial vote total was 21,599 (72 percent). Holleman received 8,252 votes in Surry to capture 28 percent of the count.

The incumbent had banked on her many years of public service once again spelling victory Tuesday, coming on the heels of her successful re-election bids in the past two 30th District Senate elections. Before that, Randleman served two terms in the N.C. House of Representatives and earlier was a longtime clerk of court in Wilkes County.

In reacting to the election result Tuesday night, Randleman, 65, of Wilkesboro, said she believes citizens appreciate what she brings to the table in Raleigh.

“I’ve worked very hard,” the incumbent said of her service, “and I think that the vote shows the people recognize that.”

While she was fully supportive of individual measures such as the state’s bathroom bill, Randleman also relied on the broader view in terms of her experience and knowing what people want in a legislator.

She said that includes becoming thoroughly familiar with the laws of North Carolina during 34 years of public service.

“I think I have a clear understanding of those laws and how they affect individuals and businesses,” Randleman explained.

“You can’t over-value practical experience that I think is needed in Raleigh.”

Randleman says she also tries to stay involved in area affairs, and citizens seem to appreciate that. “I’m in the community working every day.”

Holleman reacts

Though he suffered a lopsided loss in Tuesday’s 30th District Senate race, Michael Holleman was philosophical in discussing the reasons behind that outcome.

Above all, Holleman, a 51-year-old teacher who resides in Wilkesboro, said Tuesday night that he was glad to have entered the fray against the incumbent.

“I don’t think anyone should run unopposed,” Holleman said, “and I congratulate Senator Randleman.”

Holleman indicated that he endeavored to offer voters a choice and mount a good challenge along the way. “I tried to run an issues-oriented campaign,” he said, which included opposition to House Bill 2 and how it has driven job opportunities out of North Carolina.

However, that was not enough to overcome obstacles he faced.

“I was heavily outspent,” Holleman said of one.

Even if he had more time to devote to his campaign and spent more money, it might not have made a difference due to the demographics of the Republican-leaning 30th District, the Democratic candidate believes.

“Every contest is basically about a 70 to 30 split,” Holleman said of the various races across the district, leading him to think that issues made little or no difference.

“If you had an ‘R’ in front of your name, everybody in the 30th Senate District voted for you,” said Holleman, who added that Democrats seeking office under such a scenario have been compared to “hopeless romantics.”

Holleman sought to give citizens the opportunity to either express their satisfaction with Sen. Randleman, and “if not, try something different,” he said.

“The voters spoke, is the only thing I can say.”

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.


By Tom Joyce


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