Surry County voters decided overwhelmingly Tuesday to send Sarah Stevens back to Raleigh for her fifth two-year term in the N.C. House of Representatives.
Unofficial results, reported around 9:30 p.m., show the Republican incumbent captured 23,212 votes to retain her 90th District House seat, compared to 8,451 for Democratic challenger Vera Smith Reynolds.
The 90th District includes Surry County, which has 29 precincts, along with a small portion of Wilkes County covering two precincts.
Stevens’ winning percentage districtwide was 73 percent to 27 percent.
In Surry County, her unofficial vote total was 22,192 compared to 8,235 for Reynolds, reflecting the same percentage.
The incumbent state legislator, a 55-year-old Mount Airy attorney, credited several factors for her victory once the outcome became clear Tuesday night.
Stevens had campaigned on her experience, growth and hard work as a state legislator, which seemed to pay off when all the ballots were tallied.
“I feel like I’m in tune with the majority of Surry County citizens, and I think the vote shows that,” Stevens said from the 13 Bones restaurant in Mount Airy, where an Election Night gathering was taking place.
“I think I’ve done a good job and people seem to appreciate that.”
Reynolds, 67, a retired educator, had focused on the questionable treatment of teachers by the state government as an issue during her campaign, along with North Carolina’s controversial bathroom law, House Bill 2, which largely was embraced by Republicans.
However, Stevens believes Reynolds’ platform did not really resonate with voters in this area, including the bathroom law.
“I don’t know that House Bill Two was ever a big deal in Surry County,” the incumbent said. “I think Surry County tends to support House Bill Two.”
Stevens also credited the voters for the election results.
“I think there was a lot of interest in the election, there were a lot of early voters turning out,” she said.
That was a key in Surry County, where Republicans outnumber Democrats.
Reynolds could not be reached for comment Tuesday night on the election results.
Stevens said during her campaign that her experience, while hard for the challenger to overcome, also should pay dividends for local residents in the long term.
The incumbent believes she’s now in a position to take on more responsibility and leadership roles in the state capital, after having already made a legislative contribution on issues such as foster care for children.
“I just appreciate the citizens of Surry County for all the support they’ve shown me,” Stevens said, “and I hope to continue to do a good job for them.”
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.