Too Close To Call


Photo provided by Robert Hill

John Stabolitis, Staff Writer

“Too close to call” has been the phrase echoed throughout the news ever since election day on November 3. The phrase certainly applies to the race for NC Attorney General, as it could not be called until two weeks after the election, on November 17. Even so, the battle between Jim O’Neill and Josh Stein ended neck and neck, with a difference between the two candidates of only about 14,000 votes, out of 5.4 million. 

“We find ourselves behind two-tenths of one percent,” Jim O’Neill said. “Which when you consider the millions of people that voted in North Carolina, two-tenths of one percent is astonishingly close.”

O’Neill is currently the Forsyth County District Attorney (DA) as well as the Men’s Lacrosse Coach for RJR. O’Neill has campaigned for his job as Forsyth County DA as well as one attempt for Attorney General but he says this campaign was different for multiple reasons. 

“When I run for district attorney, I am running in Forsyth County,” O’Neill said. “With Attorney General, there’s a lot more ground, a lot more area to cover, which further complicates the idea of running a campaign.”

Running a larger campaign is already an adjustment but juggling both a larger area to the campaign, as well as a widespread pandemic, proved to require some adjustments.

“[The pandemic] has made things very unusual,” O’Neill said. “Because of the pandemic and the rules following the pandemic, we had to be creative in terms of getting our message out.”

One creative measure taken was reaching out to community leaders to set up Zoom calls in order to get their messages across to supporters.  A defining issue throughout this election cycle is the issue of law and order. O’Neill stood by the police and law enforcement throughout his campaigning.

“I believe it’s imperative that the community understands the importance of supporting law enforcement,” O’Neill said. “Some of the issues that arose during the campaign revolved around defunding the police, and I can tell you from first-hand experience that defunding the police is one of the worst things that could happen to our society. The police are necessary to keep and provide law and order. And to protect all people.”

While the race for NC Attorney General has been called by the media, there is still a long road ahead of certifying and confirming the results. In addition to all of the election chaos, O’Neill is also ready to begin training with the lacrosse team as they inch closer to their season. 

“I know that we are going to be ready because the kids that play lacrosse at Reynolds truly care about their lacrosse season,” O’Neill said. 

O’Neill implements lessons he has learned at work and teaches them to his players on the field. 

“My players from years past would tell you that I emphasize that it’s not just enough to be a good representative of Reynolds lacrosse when you’re playing on the field,” O’Neill said. “But I want that to spill over when my kids and my players are in the community.”

The Associated Press has called the election for Stein. While O’Neill and his team didn’t quite get the results they were looking for, O’Neill looks forward to the upcoming lacrosse season. 

“We are looking forward to getting back on the field and being able to compete in our conference and hopefully doing well enough there that we can advance in the state playoffs, and try to make a run at a state championship,” O’Neill said. “And the last thing I would say is, Go Demons!”