Duckworth wins re-election in Bladeboro

By: W. Curt Vincent - Bladen Journal

BLADENBORO — Despite a low turnout for the town’s municipal election Tuesday, Bladenboro voters sent a strong message they are pleased with the job being done by the current administration.

Incumbent Mayor Rufus Duckworth won re-election to his second term, garnering 176 votes — holding off a challenge by former councilman Larry Simmons by 50 votes. Challenger Kenneth Kelly earned 32 votes.

“Obviously I’m pretty happy with the outcome,” Duckworth said. “We had about 200 fewer voters turn out (Tuesday) than last time, but a majority that did come out think we’re doing a good job.”

The board Duckworth will be working with over the next couple of years will change slightly after Tuesday’s voting.

Incumbent Councilman Jeff Atkinson won his re-election bid with 271 votes, but incumbent Billy Ray Benson fell short in his re-election bid, taking just 147 of the 595 votes cast. In addition, Councilman Cris Harrelson decided not to seek re-election.

In their place will be newcomers Rodney Hester, who led all vote-getters with 276 votes, and Greg Sykes, who garnered 176 votes.

“Rodney will be a good influence on the board,” Duckworth said. “He and Greg will bring new perspectives and I think we will have a good board going forward.”

W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 910-862-4163 or

One incumbent loses re-election bid

W. Curt Vincent

Bladen Journal