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Pittman loss in Democratic county commissioner primary confirmed after recount


After seven hours of recounting ballots, county Board of Elections workers confirmed Thursday Democratic Cumberland County Board of Commissioners candidate Ronald Pittman’s loss in the March 5 Dist. 2 primary.

Pittman requested a recount last week when certified election results showed him behind fellow Democrat Karla Icaza by 38 votes. Thursday’s recount reduced Pittman’s vote total by one, putting him behind by 39 votes. His new total is 4,427 votes.

Commissioner Toni Stewart, former Sen. Kirk deViere and Icaza came out on top in the initial March 5 results.

The recount began at 8 a.m. and the Board of Elections certified the results of the recount at 3:28 p.m. Stewart also lost two votes.

Pittman, who arrived at the county Board of Elections office at 8 a.m. and left about an hour before the recount finished, told CityView he would still request the recount if he had to do it all over again.

“I feel like the people that voted for me, they believed in me,” he said, “and I don’t think it would’ve been fair to them if I had not pushed it and done everything I could do to make sure everything was square on my side.”

Pittman said he was “very disappointed” by the results of the recount.

“The people spoke; that’s all I can say,” he said.

Icaza could not be reached for comment Thursday. 

The cost of the recount has yet to be determined, with Amaro estimating it will take her about a week to calculate. Board of Elections Chairwoman Irene Grimes said she believes the recount could cost up to $20,000, as the board must pay for the cost of at least 20 poll workers to do the recount and account for other drains on its resources, like employees who were unable to perform their normal daily tasks because of the recount.

Grimes said the last recount performed in the county was in July 2022, when a recount confirmed Fayetteville Councilman Mario Benavente’s win by six votes. 

Thursday’s recount looked at 52 out of the county’s 77 precincts, Grimes said. The race was for Dist. 2, which does not cover the entirety of Cumberland County. 

It was not immediately clear how many total ballots were recounted.

The new vote totals:

  • 7,651 votes for deViere
  • 6,778 votes for Stewart
  • 4,466 votes for Icaza
  • 4,427 votes for Pittman

Icaza, deViere and Stewart will move forward to the general election on Nov. 5, facing off against Republican challengers Henry Tyson, Peter Pappas and Pavan Patel for three available seats on the board.

Reporter Lexi Solomon can be reached at lsolomon@cityviewnc.com or 910-423-6500.

This story was made possible by contributions to CityView News Fund, a 501c3 charitable organization committed to an informed democracy.

Cumberland County Board of Commissioners, recount, elections, voting, Ronald Pittman