PEMBROKE — Despite a strong challenge from a former chairman , Lumbee voters on Tuesday re-elected Paul Brooks as the tribe’s top elected official. The race, which also included a third candidate, had been hotly contested and called the “bloodiest” in years by some observers.
Brooks received 2,559, or 52 percent, of the total 4,899 votes cast. Jimmy Goins, who served two terms as chairman, captured 2,042, or 42 percent, of the votes cast, with Lynn Bruce Jacobs, receiving 298, or 6 percent, of the total votes. Results are unofficial until votes are certified.
“I want to thank all of my supporters for getting out and voting despite the dreary weather,” Brooks said late Tuesday after the final votes were tallied. “That really means a lot to me. I look forward to working to move the tribe forward through the creation of jobs and education.”
Goins could not be reached for comment.
Brooks will now serve as chairman for the next three years. He was elected in November 2011 during a special election to fill the remaining year of former Chairman Purnell Swett’s three-year term.
Brooks was elected despite strong opposition from many of the 21-member Tribal Council, whose members say they are frustrated and angry with the chairman’s lack of communication and efforts to work with the council. Several watched silently as the election results were shown on a screen at the Lumbee Housing Complex on N.C. 711. One was overheard to say, “God help the Lumbee people over the next three years.”
Brooks, as leader of the Lumbee Tribe, recently found himself named in a discrimination complaint filed against the tribe with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The complaint was filed by Ashley Haywood, a former Miss Lumbee. Also named in the complaint were Jimmy Hunt, who on Tuesday lost his bid for a seat on the Tribal Council, and Lumbee Tribe Enterprises.
But of the few who waited for the election returns at the Housing Complex, not all agreed that Goins was the man to lead the tribe into the future. Goins served as chairman from 2004 to 2010, and has come under fire for his involvement with hiring a Las Vegas firm to spearhead federal recognition efforts. Some argue that the association with a gaming firm have killed recognition efforts.
“Jimmy is popular with the people in the area and was popular as a chairman. I voted for him the last time, but this time I’m supporting Paul,” said Joel “Garth” Locklear Sr. “I’ve worked a lot with Paul and he is very astute at getting things done.”
According to the tribe’s Elections Board chairman, Carvicous Barfield, the voter turnout Tuesday was low for an election year involving a chairman’s race. Only 4,899 votes were cast in the chairman’s race, a turnout of just more than 15 percent for the tribe, which has just more than 32,000 members eligible to vote.
During Tuesday’s election, seven Tribal Council members were lected. These are:
— District 1: Evan Davenport, 156 votes, defeated Remondie Hunt, 94 votes, and Billy “Dollar Bill” Oxendine, 74 votes.
— District 4: Jonathan Locklear, 180 votes, defeated Retha Kenworthy, 26 votes.
— District 5: Bobby Dean Oxendine, 284 votes, defeated Ruby Bullard Locklear, 200 votes, and Millicent Collins, 179 votes.
— District 7: Robert Chavis, 553 votes,defeated Cody Eagle Horse Godwin,209 votes.
— District 9: Anita Hammonds Blanks, 202 votes, defeated Dewey McNeill, 126 votes, and Richard Terry Locklear, 66 votes.
— District 10: Terry Collins won while running unopposed
— District 14: Homer Fields, 117 votes, defeated Jimmy Hunt, 28 votes.