When the polls closed in Tuesday’s General Election, and the votes were counted, Rockingham gained a state senator but lost a mayor.
Mayor Gene McLaurin was elected to the state senate District 25 seat.
So what happens now?
Well, McLaurin said he’ll remain the city’s mayor through the end of the year. He won’t be sworn in as a state senator until January 2013, so there’s no big rush to find his replacement but it will have to be done in the next two months.
The mayor’s job will be filled by appointment of the Rockingham City Council. The city charter spells out the steps that needed to be taken.
The changing of the guard is expected to be a topic of conversation at the next regular meeting of the City Council, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13. The council meets at City Hall, 514 Rockingham Road.
McLaurin said he anticipates the council will hold a special meeting in late December, at which the councilmen would accept his resignation and appoint a new mayor. That person will then serve out the remainder of McLaurin’s current term, through the end of 2013.
McLaurin said the City Council could choose the new mayor from among their own ranks, but that isn’t mandatory. He said it is likely the councilmen will select one of their own to be the mayor, and then that would create a vacancy on the council. If that occurs, the City Council would begin looking for a new face to appoint to the post.
McLaurin, a Democrat, was competing for the senate seat against retired teacher Gene McIntyre, a Republican from New London.
Both men were after the District 25 senate seat held by Democrat William Purcell, who chose not to run for another term. The district includes Richmond, Scotland, Anson and Stanly counties.
According to the State Board of Elections, the unofficial vote tally from Tuesday’s election shows McLaurin was the victor with 44,023 votes, or 52.92 percent of all votes cast in the race throughout the district. McIntyre received 39,163 votes, or 47.08 percent.
“I am overwhelmed by the support I got at home and throughout the district,” said McLaurin late Tuesday night after all results were tallied.
Other items on the agenda of the City Council on Tuesday include:
• A request by city staff to declare the vacant and dilapidated residence at 85 Short Street a public nuisance, a step toward having the site cleaned up.
• Consider purchasing property at 114 Byrd Drive.
• Acknowledge a proclamation to honor veterans in recognition of Veterans Day.
• Hear an update on progress of the Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham project, a children’s museum being built in downtown Rockingham and expected to open in early 2013.
• Review a preliminary cost estimate for the proposed Rockingham Recreation Complex.
— Editor John Charles Robbins can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 13, or by email at email@example.com.