Decision Time

Published 10:25 am Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The wait is nearly over.

After listening to or reading about the candidates seeking local, state and national offices, Gates County voters will decide the political future of those individuals during next week’s Primary Election.

For those registered voters choosing not to use the One-Stop voting method, traditional polling places in Gates County will be open from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 8. Those polling places are:

Precinct #1 – Gates County Social Services in Gatesville;

Precinct #2 – Eure Fire Station in Eure;

Precinct #3 – Gates Fire Station in Gates;

Precinct #4 North – Sunbury Fire Dept. Sub Station 2 located at 250 Parkers Fork Road in Corapeake;

Precinct #4 South – Sunbury Fire Station, NC 32 South, Sunbury; and

Precinct #5 – Hobbsville Fire Station in Hobbsville.

Winners from next week’s Democratic and Republican primaries will advance to November’s General Election.

Primary ballots from both political parties are full of candidates seeking to represent their local, district, state and national constituents.

Gates County Democrats will be able to cast votes for the following partisan offices:

U.S. President – Barack Obama or No Preference;

NC Governor – Walter H. Dalton, Gary M. Dunn, Bob Etheridge, Bill Faison, Gardenia M. Henley, or Bruce Blackmon;

NC Lt. Governor – Eric L. Mansfield, or Linda D. Coleman;

NC Commissioner of Agriculture – Walter Smith or Scott Bryant;

NC Commissioner of Labor – Marlowe Foster, Ty Richardson, or John C. Brooks;

NC Treasurer – Ron Elmer, or Janet Cowell;

NC House of Representatives (District 5) – Annie Ward Mobley, or Linda L. Blackburn;

Board of County Commissioners (Hobbsville District) – Linda Hofler, Ernest L. Jordan, or Graham L. Twine; and

Board of County Commissioners (Sunbury District) – Henry L. Jordan, or Chuck Brothers.

Gates County Register of Deeds Sharon Harrell is unopposed in the Primary. Her name will not appear on the Democratic Primary ballot as she advances directly to November’s General Election.

In nonpartisan races, local voters from both political parties will be able to cast ballots for those seeking seats on the Gates County Board of Education. In District 4, Dale W. Saunders Sr. will square off against Claire R. Whitehurst for that seat. Meanwhile, Ray Felton is the only name on the ballot for the District 2 School Board seat.

Gates County Republicans will have a larger list of candidates to choose from in the Primary. They are as follows:

US President – Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, or No Preference;

US House of Representatives (District 3) – Walter B. Jones, or Frank Palombo;

NC Governor – Jim Harney, Scott A. Jones, Jim Mahan, Pat McCrory, Charles Kenneth Moss, or Paul Wright;

NC Lt. Governor – Dale Folwell, Dan Forest, Tony Gurley, Grey Mills, or Arthur Jason Rich;

NC Auditor – Joseph Hank DeBragga, Greg Dority, Debra Goldman, Fern Shubert, or Rudy Wright;

NC Commissioner of Agriculture – Bill McManus, or Steve Troxler;

NC Commissioner of Insurance – James McCall, Richard Morgan, or Mike Causey;

NC Secretary of State – A. J. Daoud, Kenn Gardner, Ed Goodwin, or Michael (Mike) Beitler;

NC Superintendent of Public Instruction – Ray Ernest Martin, David Scholl, John Tedesco, Richard Alexander, or Mark Crawford;

NC Treasurer – Frank Roche, or Steve Royal; and

NC Senate (District 1) – Jerry Evans, or Bill Cook.

Gates County voters from both political parties will also help decide on a referendum regarding an amendment to the North Carolina Constitution. The proposed amendment reads as follows: Constitutional amendment to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. Voters will be asked to cast their ballots for or against.

A current North Carolina law enacted in 1996 says that marriage between individuals of the same sex is not valid in North Carolina. This amendment would make that concept part of the North Carolina Constitution. If this amendment is passed by the voters, then under state law it can only

be changed by another vote of the people.

The term “domestic legal union” used in the amendment is not defined in North Carolina law.

There is debate among legal experts about how this proposed constitutional amendment may impact North Carolina law as it relates to unmarried couples of same or opposite sex and same sex couples legally married in another state, particularly in regard to employment-related benefits for domestic partners; domestic violence laws; child custody and visitation rights; and end-of-life arrangements. The courts will ultimately make those decisions.

The amendment also says that private parties may still enter into contracts creating rights enforceable against each other. This means that unmarried persons, businesses and other private parties may be able to enter into agreements establishing personal rights, responsibilities, or benefits as to each other. The courts will decide the extent to which such contracts can be enforced.

The Gates County Index will provide coverage on the night of Tuesday, May 8 with results posted online at Additionally, the Wednesday, May 9 edition of the Index will be delayed by one day in order to publish the Primary results in a timely manner. For those purchasing the Index via a newspaper rack, that edition will be available late Wednesday morning (instead of Tuesday) while those subscribing by mail will receive their paper on Thursday (instead of Wednesday).

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

email author More by Cal