Robeson County voters will go to the polls May 17. Here are some primary races to watch

By Sarah Nagem

When Robeson County voters go to the polls on May 17, they choose candidates for everything from county commission to the U.S. Senate, and help set the stage for the midterm elections next fall.

So which primary races are worth keeping an eye on? Here are some key points.

  • Two Democrats on the Robeson County Board of Commissioners face challengers in the primary – Faline Locklear and Lance Herndon. 
  • Charles Graham, a Democrat who currently represents Robeson in the N.C. House of Representatives, is running for Congress. Two Democrats and two Republicans are vying for a chance to fight for the seat in November. 
  • As a result of redistricting, Charlotte Republican Dan Bishop will no longer represent Robeson County in the U.S. House of Representatives. Rep. David Rouzer, a Wilmington Republican, is running for the District 7 seat, and he faces one primary challenger. Four Democrats are also vying for a chance to fight for the seat in November.
  • No one filed to run against Robeson County Sheriff Burnis Wilkins, a Democrat, so he will serve another term in office. The same goes for Robeson County District Attorney Matt Scott, also a Democrat.
  • May 17 serves as a general election for the Robeson County school board, so the winning candidates will serve on the board. Two school board members are trying to fend off challengers to keep their seats – Brenda S. Fairley-Ferebee and Linda Emanuel. 
  • Statewide, a very crowded field of candidates is running for the U.S. Senate, including former N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory and U.S. House member Ted Budd, both Republicans, and Democrat Cheri Beasley, former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. Incumbent Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican, is not seeking re-election.
  • Voters in Lumberton and St. Pauls will elect members to their town boards on May 17. Those elections were supposed to take place last year, but the date was changed due to redistricting.

Robeson County has about 70,400 registered voters, according to the N.C. State Board of Elections

In primary elections, voters must fill out a ballot associated with their registered political party. Unaffiliated voters can choose which party’s ballot to fill out. 

Robeson has about 36,500 registered Democrats, 12,300 registered Republicans and 21,300 unaffiliated voters, data shows. 

The following candidates will appear on the primary ballot: 

Robeson County Board of Commissioners (District 04)


Faline Locklear, Maxton (incumbent)

Sandy (Billy) Bowen, Red Springs

(No Republican primary)

Robeson County Board of Commissioners (District 08)


Lance Herndon, Parkton (incumbent)

Curtis Mabe Sr., Parton

(No Republican primary)

Robeson County Clerk of Superior Court


Jamaica Campbell, Lumberton

Shelena Smith, Pembroke

(No Republican primary)

Robeson County Board of Education (District 02)

Brenda S. Fairley-Ferebee, Maxton (incumbent)

Melissa Ocean, Rowland

Robeson County Board of Education (District 03)

Peggy Wilkins Chavis, Lumberton

Linda Emanuel, Lumberton (incumbent)

Robeson County Board of Education (District 06)

Mike Smith, Red Springs (incumbent)

Robeson County Board of Education (District 08)

Tre’ Britt, Lumberton 

U.S. House (District 7)


Charles E. Evans, Fayetteville

Charles Graham, Lumberton

Yushonda Midgette, Winnabow

Steve Miller, Wilmington


David Rouzer, Wilmington (incumbent)

Max Southworth-Beckwith, Currie

N.C. House (District 47)


Aminah Ghaffar, Lumberton

Charles Townsend, Fairmont


Jarrod Lowery, Pembroke

Mickey Biggs, Pembroke

U.S. Senate


James L. Carr, Jr., Harrisburg

Robert Colon, Wallace

Alyssia Rose-Katherine Hammond, Raleigh

Constance (Lov) Johnson, Charlotte

Tobias LaGrone, Greensboro

B. K. Maginnis, Charlotte

Rett Newton, Beaufort

Marcus W. Williams, Lumberton

Greg Antoine, Fayetteville

Cheri Beasley, Raleigh

Chrelle Booker, Tryon


Marjorie K. Eastman, Cary

David Flaherty, Cameron

Benjamin E. Griffiths,

Kenneth Harper, Jr., Archdale

Pat McCrory, Charlotte

Charles Kenneth Moss, Randleman

Lichia Sibhatu, Raleigh

Debora Tshiovo, Moravian Falls

Mark Walker, Summerfield

Jen Banwart, Fuquay-Varina

Ms. Lee A. Brian, Clayton

Leonard L. Bryant, Fayetteville

Ted Budd, Advance

Drew Bulecza, Lincolnton

N.C. Supreme Court Associate Justice (Seat 05)


Victoria E. Prince, Greensboro

April C. Wood, Lexington

Trey Allen, Hillsborough

(No Democratic primary)

N.C. Court of Appeals (Seat 09)


Beth Freshwater Smith, Wilson

Donna Stroud, Garner

(No Democratic primary)

N.C. Court of Appeals (Seat 11)


Michael J. Stading, Charlotte

Charlton L. Allen, Mooresville

Lumberton City Council (District 02) 

Melissa Robinson (incumbent)

Lumberton City Council (District 03) 

John Carroll (incumbent)

Lumberton City Council (District 05) 

John Cantey (incumbent)

Rhandi Cooper

Darryl Genus

Lumberton City Council (District 08) 

Owen Thomas (incumbent)

St. Pauls Board of Commissioners (District 01) 

John E. Gudauskas, Jr. (incumbent)

St. Pauls Board of Commissioners (District 02)

Annie Stephens (incumbent)

St. Pauls Board of Commissioners (District 03) 

Mamie Regans Anderson

Joseph Weindel 

St. Pauls Board of Commissioners (District 04) 

Donna Powers Patterson (incumbent)