Steve Troxler defeated Walter Smith on Tuesday night to win a fourth term as North Carolina agriculture commissioner.
Troxler, a Republican, outpolled Democrat Smith with 55.61 percent of the vote.
Troxler has served as N.C. agriculture commissioner since 2005. A lifelong resident of Guilford County, Troxler has his own farm, with tobacco, wheat, soybeans and other produce.
Smith, who grew up in Robeson County, is retired and the owner of a Yadkin County farm. He worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture for 34 years before retiring. Smith also served as mayor of Boonville in the late 1980s.
About the office
The commissioner leads the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
The goal of the job is to protect and enhance the state’s ability to have “an adequate supply of food and fiber in North Carolina.” The department is also responsible for enforcing many regulatory programs that protect and promote the health, safety and welfare of North Carolinians.
What shaped the race
Troxler had said that if re-elected he could focus on disaster relief from Hurricane Matthew, which caused devastating flooding in the state. He also said the department will continue working on a new $94 million lab facility that will combine several labs, including food safety labs, a standards lab for weights and measures and a veterinary lab.
Smith had pledged to make changes to the department if elected, including increasing the staff’s diversity. He also expressed concern about North Carolina losing family farms “at a high rate.”