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Hazelton wins district court judgeship

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Wendy Hazelton greets voters outside of the Willis Building during early voting Wednesday evening.

Wendy Hazelton.jpg

Beth Velliquette

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Wendy Hazelton was elected to be a district court judge in Judicial District 3A on Tuesday.

She will be the first African-American woman to serve as a district court judge in Pitt County.

Hazelton, 41, will replace Judge David Leech, who announced last year that he planned to retire and would not run again for his seat on the bench.

Hazelton received 36,255 votes and won 52.2 percent of the votes while her opponent Daniel Hines Entzminger, 37, received 33,196 votes with 47.8 percent of the vote, according to preliminary totals.

As she, her friends and family waited at Kickback Jack’s for the results to come in, Hazelton said her heart was racing. She led most of the night but the last precinct took a long time to report its results. When it did, she had maintained her lead.

“I’m overwhelmed with all the support that the citizens of Pitt County have shown me,” she said. “I’m thankful to have their support, and I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure I stand by everything I said.”

Supporters and volunteers, some she didn’t even know, came and celebrated with her at the restaurant Tuesday night.

“So many people worked so hard on this campaign, especially people that I’m not even aware of,” Hazelton said.

Entzminger said he wanted to congratulate Hazelton, her family and supporters and to thank his family and supporters.

“I hope she will work hard to be an excellent district court judge,” he said.

Both work as defense attorneys in the Pitt County courts and are friends.

“For the most part, Ms. Hazelton did her best to keep the race positive, and I did the same thing,” he said. “We both wanted to run a good, clean positive race. Since we are friends and colleagues, that is why we ran the race we did.”

District Court Judges D. Galen Braddy and Brian DeSoto both ran unopposed for their seats. Braddy received 45,764 votes and DeSoto 49,057 votes. 

Superior Court Judge Jeff Foster ran unopposed for the seat that formerly was held by Rusty Duke. Foster received 49,479 votes.

During the primary in March, Entzminger and Hazelton were the top two vote-getters. Entzminger, an attorney in private practice, received 11,254 votes in the primary, and Hazelton, an assistant public defender, received 10,009 votes during the primary, which included two other candidates.

During the primary season, one of the candidates, attorney Earl Brown, was killed in a car wreck on Feb. 20.

Contact Beth Velliquette at bvelliquette@reflector.com or at 252-329-9566.