Thursday meeting selects replacements

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 17, 2007

WINDSOR – Who will be the next two individuals to represent the local area in the state General Assembly?

We will learn that answer later today.

North Carolina Democratic Party officials from seven local counties will meet at 4 p.m. today (Thursday) at the Windsor Community Building. There they will nominate and vote from a list of candidates expressing an interest to fill the seats left vacant by the deaths of State House District 5 Representative Howard Hunter Jr. and State Senator (District 4) Robert Holloman.

Thursday’s meeting is open to the public.

Democratic Party Executive Committee members representing House District 5 (Bertie, Gates, Hertford and Perquimans counties) will nominate from a list that includes Windsor Town Commissioner Hoyt Cooper, Hertford County Commissioner Howard Hunter III, the son of the late Howard Hunter Jr., Gates County businessman John Lane, Town of Winfall Mayor Fred Yates, Annie W. Mobley of Ahoskie, Director of R.L. Vann

School Reunion Inc., and Alvin Basnight, a retiring Community Corrections officer in Bertie County.

The counties of Bertie, Chowan, Gates, Halifax, Hertford, Northampton and Perquimans will send Democratic Party Executive Committee members to select Holloman’s replacement in Senate District 4. Included on that list of candidates are Hertford County Commissioner DuPont Davis, former Bertie County Commissioner Patricia Ferguson, current House of Representatives (District 7) member Ed Jones of Halifax County, North Carolina Highway Patrol First Sgt. Kenneth Pitts of Northampton County, Willie Riddick of Windsor, a Deputy Secretary with NCDOT, Jean Reaves of Halifax County, who serves as Director of the Roanoke Valley Adult Day Center, and Alvin Basnight.

Basnight has informed the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald that his priority was the Senate seat.

Contacted by telephone late Wednesday afternoon, Don Davis, Chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party’s First Congressional District, said he had no knowledge of any new individuals expressing an interest to be considered as candidates.

None of the candidates on either list are guaranteed nomination. If they are selected as a finalist, their fate rests in the hands of the Executive Committee members who, using a pre-determined number of votes assigned to their respective county (those votes are based upon population), will narrow the lists down to two individuals n one for the House seat and the other for the Senate. Those two names will be forwarded to North Carolina Governor Mike Easley who, by law, has seven days to officially make the appointments to fill the unexpired two-year terms of Rep. Hunter and Senator Holloman.

Based on population, Halifax County’s voting delegates can cast 191 total votes in Senate District 4. In succeeding order, the voting strength in the remaining counties are Hertford (75), Northampton (74), Bertie (66), Chowan (48), Perquimans (38) and Gates (35).

To win the Senate District 4 nomination, a candidate must collect a minimum of 264 votes (50 percent plus one). If none of the nominees meet the minimum threshold on the first ballot, the individual with the lowest vote total will be removed from the list and the balloting continues in this manner until one person collects 264 votes.

Hertford County (75) holds the voting strength in the House District 5 process. Bertie (66), Perquimans (38) and Gates (35) follow in order.

It takes 108 votes (50 percent plus one) to win the House nomination. The same rules apply as above if any of the nominees fail to meet the minimum threshold on the first ballot.