Hoke will have new state senator after ‘22 election

RAEFORD — Following the 2020 Census, the General Assembly had the job of drawing new federal and state legislative districts to reflect the state’s population changes across all 100 counties. After two rounds of redraws, court interventions, and multiple public hearings, the new state Senate map was approved in February.

Hoke County finds itself split from western Cumberland County for the first time in a decade, joining Robeson County and Scotland County in the new 24th District.

Current state Sen. Ben Clark is running to still represent the county. He is retiring from the legislature and is the Democratic nominee for the 9th Congressional District seat. 

In the new state Senate district, Robeson County is the largest county of the three, making up 57% of the new district’s population. Hoke County makes up 26%, and the remaining 17% is in Scotland County.

The candidates for the district are current Republican state Sen. Danny Britt of Lumberton and Democratic candidate Darrel “BJ” Gibson of Laurinburg, a sitting Scotland County Commissioner.

Britt is running for his fourth term in the state Senate. A native of Robeson County, he enlisted in the N.C. Army National Guard after high school and went on to play football at Appalachian State University. An attorney, he became a prosecutor in the Robeson County District Attorney’s Office and currently works in private practice. 

In his three terms in Raleigh, Britt has quickly become a leader on criminal justice issues, shepherding criminal justice reforms and chairing the state Senate’s Judiciary Committee. In the 2021-22 session, he also was the Senate Transportation Committee chair.

Gibson, a minister at Nazareth Missionary Baptist Church, is a Scotland County native. He served ten years on the Scotland County School Board and is currently a county commissioner. He is a graduate of Fayetteville Technical Community College. 

In a Ballotpedia candidate survey, he says his goals are to work with communities to keep neighborhoods and streets safe, ensure racial equality in North Carolina schools, and Medicaid expansion. Gibson says he supports “paying our teachers and other school employees what they deserve,” expanding free Pre-K education, and increasing access to healthcare services.