KINSTON, Lenoir County - It was the big surprise of Tuesday's local elections, the upset of Kinston incumbent Mayor BJ Murphy by political newcomer Don Hardy.
Mayor-elect Hardy said he plans to continue the vigorous push to not only revitalize the city of Kinston but also to put safety and security on the front burner.
"It was just tears of joy and everybody had fun and we ripped the benefit and so here we are," Hardy said.
Hardy beat Murphy in Tuesday's election by about 200 votes. Murphy also got a congratulatory call from Gov. Roy Cooper.
"He said he will be down here soon and I just want to say the city of Kinston turned out and they spoke volumes when they came out to vote," Hardy said.
Celebrations aside, the Navy veteran and former Kinston police officer said he is ready to get to work.
"Talk to folks we've never talked to, we want to reach out to them and say 'hey what do you think about these ideas?' We want to build and extend the offer to others around us," Hardy said.
When Hardy officially takes on his new political role, his first time in politics, he will be working with other city leaders like incumbent city councilman and current Mayor Pro Tem Robert Swinson, who was re-elected.
"One side of town has done well and now we really need to focus on the other side of the community and hopefully get support from all around to make the community better," Swinson said. "The city of Kinston, the leadership, law enforcement, we have to come together and work together as a whole."
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