Our History

The History of Currituck County, NC's Republican Party

Legend has it that the Republican Party was so small there first meeting place was a phone booth on the corner of Routes 34 and 168.

In the early Eighties, the newly formed Republican Party started meeting once a month to discuss how to grow and recruit candidates. The participants typically were Ray Etheridge (chairman), Eddie Moore, Porcius Crank, Paul O'Neal, Ed Scribner, and a few others. Porcius Crank and Milton Carr did run for County Commissioner in 1988 or 1990, and Ed Scribner ran in 1992.

They all ran spirited campaigns but, in the end, lost. However, the number of votes did leave everyone encouraged. The County's Democratic Party had a 3-to-1 voter registration advantage. Ray Etheridge was a faithful and diligent chairman throughout all his years as chairman. 

We started holding regional meetings to include Pasquotank, Perquimans, and Chowan Counties. Camden County had no one to participate. These early meetings would average about 6 to 10 individuals at most.

In 1994 Paul O'Neal, with much encouragement from the Republican party and others, decided he would be the next sacrificial lamb to the Democrats. Currituck County's Democratic registration was still 3-to-1. Paul O'Neal's opponents were Democrat Ray Griggs and John Donaldson, running as Unaffiliated.

Paul went directly to the local community leaders in the county to plead his case where he was repeatedly told during the campaign that he didn’t have a chance as a Republican. However, they would vote for him if no one found out. Paul O'Neal ended up winning by 258 votes on election day making him the first Republican official elected in Currituck County.

It is very important to note that Owen Etheridge and Eldon Miller also ran as Democrats and were elected in their primaries. This is particularly important as they later switched parties giving the Republicans the first majority board in anyone's memory or known history.

These were the days when you could be in different Parties and still be friends and work together for your constituents without being called names. It did help that they both were Conservative and dear friends. From there, the County elected Paul Martin to eventually fill four of the five County Commissioner seats available at that time.

The Board was increased to seven members not long after... and shortly after that all seven Commissioners were Republican along with all other County-wide elected officials.