The race for North Carolina agriculture commissioner is headed back to the polls for a special election — in one county, not the entire state.

The state elections board decision to allow 24,000 people in coastal Carteret County to go back to the polls had both the incumbent Democrat Britt Cobb and the Republican Steve Troxler not knowing what to say.

“It’s a little bizarre, to tell you the truth,” Troxler says.

The election was thrown into turmoil when 4,400 ballots were lost by a voting machine. Troxler had a 2,300-vote lead in the statewide tally.

The new election was set for Jan. 11 and would include those 4,400 lost ballots as well as registered voters who did not cast ballots in the Nov. 2 election.

Troxler had earlier suggested letting only the people whose ballots were lost vote again.