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A longtime state legislator and retired Superior Court Judge has won his first election to return to the General Assembly since 2001.
Sen. Milton F. “Toby” Fitch Jr., a Democrat, defeated Republican challenger Richard Scott and Libertarian candidate Jesse Shearin, who both hail from Halifax County.
The new Senate District 4 includes all of Wilson, Edgecombe and Halifax counties.
Fitch captured 58 percent of the total vote (36,253) compared to Scott, who garnered roughly 40 percent (25,259) and Shearin’s tally of 2 percent (1,260).
Election results are unofficial until a Wilson County Board of Elections canvass.
“I want to thank the citizens of Wilson, Edgecombe and Halifax counties for the confidence and trust they have just expressed to me by electing me to represent them in the state Senate,” Fitch said. “It feels good.”
In Wilson, Fitch won 52 percent of the vote compared to Scott’s 46 percent; in Edgecombe, Fitch won roughly 65 percent of the vote compared to Scott’s 34 percent and in Halifax, he won 60 percent of the vote compared to Scott’s roughly 38 percent.
Fitch was appointed in March to serve the remainder of Sen. Angela Bryant’s current term when Bryant resigned to accept a state government post. Fitch retired as a senior resident Superior Court judge in February after serving more than 16 years on the bench.
Fitch is no stranger to politics or the North Carolina General Assembly. Prior to his judgeship, which began in 2001, he served nine terms in the N.C. House representing Wilson and Edgecombe counties.
He was also the first African-American in the state of North Carolina to preside over the House, the first majority whip and the first African-American to be elected House majority leader. Fitch is a founding member of the N.C. Legislative Black Caucus.
Fitch said he looks forward to working on issues that matter to people, including education and economic development.
“We all have a lot of work still to do,” he said. “This is still ‘We, the people,’ which means all of us in order to form a more perfect union. You can’t let artificial barriers dictate.”