Runoff election is today

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Democratic voters in North Carolina will have the opportunity to choose a nominee for Commissioner of Labor today (Tuesday).

The polls open statewide at 6:30 a.m. for runoff elections and will remain open until 7:30 p.m.

In Bertie, Hertford and Northampton counties, the only race on the ballot will be that for a nominee for state labor commissioner.

Mary Fant Donnan, a former policy analyst and director of research and policy at the North Carolina Department of Labor, is in a runoff with John C. Brooks, a former Labor Commissioner.

In the state’s primary election in May, neither Donnan nor Brooks received the necessary 40 percent to win the nomination. They were in a race along with Ty Richardson and Robin Anderson to win the Democratic nomination.

According to official tallies, Donnan received 330,581 votes or 27.54 percent compared to 292,391 votes or 24.36 percent for Brooks. Richardson finished third and Brooks fourth, but both received more than 20 percent of the popular vote.

Donnan is currently a program officer for the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation Winston-Salem. A graduate of Davidson College, Donnan earned a masters degree from the University of Adelaide in South Australia.

Donnan grew up in southwestern Virginia, according to her website biography. She has worked at the Reynolds Foundation, Department of Labor and served as development director for the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research.

The candidate has also received the endorsement of former candidates Richardson and Anderson as well as former Labor Commissioner Harry Payne.

Brooks served as Commissioner of Labor in North Carolina from 1977-1993. He has since taken over as Staff Attorney for the North Carolina Industrial Commission.

In the past, Brooks has served as a special assistant to the late Governor Terry Sanford, as well as Executive Director of the Maryland Constitutional Convention Commission.

In Gates County, voters will have the option to choose a new labor commission nominee just as in the other three counties, but will also choose a Democratic nominee for Gates County Commissioner.

In the District 5 race, Paulette Britt (897 votes; 35.79 percent) was named on the most ballots during the May Primary. Graham Twine (815 votes; 32.52 percent) placed second with Mickey Lee (794 votes; 31.68 percent) finishing third.

Britt and Twine, as the top two vote-getters in May, will face-off. The winner will be seated as a commissioner, possibly as early as July 7, due to the recent death of long-time District 5 Commissioner L. Frank Rountree, who had earlier chose not to seek reelection.