Richmond County voters making their way to the polls Tuesday were confronted by campaigners who sought to win their hearts and minds for candidates that made a strong impression on them.
At Leath Library in Rockingham Tuesday morning, local musician Charity Russell solicited votes for sheriff candidate Eddie Martin.
“We get all kind of different reactions,” Russell, the lead singer of Zephyr’s End, explained. “Some people are eager to stay and talk to us, but other just go on by.”
She doesn’t believe her efforts would sway every voter on their way to the poll, though.
“I think it makes a difference, but a lot of people have already voted and others already know who they want to vote for,” Russell said.
About 150 feet nearer the entrance, Brian David campaigned for sheriff candidate James Clemmons, and he described an amiable group of voters and workers.
“It’s been very pleasant,” he said. “You have a few who kind of shoo you away, but for the most part the people are very kind and want to hear what you have to say.”
He also described a sense of camaraderie among poll workers, regardless of the candidate they support.
“I was working at the polls last week, too,” David continued. “Everybody got along really well. We grilled out and shared our food. It was fun - this is a big county, and folks are kind of spread out, so you don’t get a chance to see everyone every day. This has been a good experience, and hopefully we’ll get good results.”
Hamlet Florist owner Carolyn Blue has working the polls down to a science. She closed down her shop to hit the streets for county commission candidate Jimmy Capps and sheriff candidate Bo Frye on election day.
“I’m good at this,” she explained. “The secret is personality. You’ve gotta have a personality and be willing to meet and greet.”
She broke off her words abruptly to speak with a pair of voters on the virtues of her candidates, then resumed her interview seamlessly.
“You can’t be a stranger,” Blue explained. “There’s no strangers in my life. I’m not afraid to speak with people and ask for their support.”
Despite the best efforts of local campaign workers, some voters won’t be swayed by their last minute messages.
At the Hamlet First United Methodist Church, the Mark’s Creek #1 polling station, Janie Puckett used overalls and a straw hat to draw the attention of passersby as she campaigned for district attorney candidate Reece Saunders, sheriff candidate Bo Frye, County Commissioner Pam Dillman and county commission candidate Larry Rogers.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” she said. “They’re laughing at my outfit and calling me ‘Farmer Puckett.’”
Matthew Parker, the son of District Attorney Michael Parker, stood nearby campaigning for his father.
“There’s been a very good response,” he said. “The voters have been very polite, and appreciate all the information you can give them.”
Staff Writer Philip D. Brown can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ext. 32, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.