Phyllis Portie-Ascott is projected as the winner of the Democratic primary in the race for a District 2 seat on the Board of Orange County Commissioners.

The projection comes based on her lead established with early vote totals and initial precincts, which saw Portie-Ascott’s advantage over Horace Johnson Jr. and Adam Beeman swell to around 3,000 votes and 74 percent of the early reported votes.

After the race was called, Portie-Ascott spoke with Chapelboro and said she watched the results roll in with her family members and campaign team at home.

“I am grateful to all of the voters that chose me tonight, I’m grateful to my campaign team, I’m grateful to every donor that found me worthy of donating some of their money to,” she said Tuesday night. “And I am especially grateful to my family for sacrificing time with me to allow me to go out, campaign, and do the best I can to demonstrate to voters that I am worthy of serving them.”

Portie-Ascott has experience on the board of commissioners — but this represents her first election victory. The former first chair of the Orange Democratic Party was appointed to a vacant District 2 seat in early 2023 to replace Renée Price after Price was elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives in 2022. Beyond her time as a county commissioner, Portie-Ascott works as a real estate broker in Durham.

Running on a platform of addressing the affordable housing crisis and mental health challenges facing the Orange County community, the Democrat said she feels like the issues remain the biggest ones she’s been exposed to during her time in elected service.

“I am looking forward to continuing to work with my colleagues, work with our staff, work with other folks in this region, and even federal partners to see what dollars we can all bring together,” she said of housing. “How can we come together collectively and help solve the affordable housing issue in Orange County?”

“I believe in order for all of Orange County to thrive,” Portie-Ascott later added about mental health, “we need to make sure folks have what they need in terms of access and providers to help them at the time they need it the most.”

Portie-Ascott will now prepare for a matchup in November with a Republican challenger: H. Nathan Robinson, who ran unopposed in the primary. The winner will serve a four-year term on the board of county commissioners. On Tuesday, the Democrat said she felt “excited and optimistic.”

“We will continue to work hard,” said Portie-Ascott, “to reach out to as many voters as we can, to make sure they understand what our platform is and how we can help them…for them to know that we’re here to help them.”

Three Orange County Commissioner candidates drew no challengers in either the primary or general elections. Incumbent Jean Hamilton will earn another term in a District 1 seat, while first-time candidate Marilyn Carter will serve in the other open District 1 seat left by outgoing commissioner Anna Richards. Incumbent Amy Fowler will also serve another term in her At-Large seat on the board, and all three candidates will appear as unopposed on the November ballot.

To see other local results, and select statewide results, from Tuesday’s 2024 primary elections, visit the Chapelboro Election Results page.


Photo via Kristin Prelipp/Orange County. does not charge subscription fees, and you can directly support our efforts in local journalism here. Want more of what you see on Chapelboro? Let us bring free local news and community information to you by signing up for our newsletter.