Candidate filing opens across RC area

Published 9:21 am Thursday, February 13, 2014

AHOSKIE – While some campaigns began months ago, it’s the start of the candidate filing season that means the election season has officially opened in North Carolina and around the Roanoke-Chowan.

The State Board of Elections and county elections offices began accepting candidate forms at noon Monday, Feb. 10. The filing deadline is Feb. 28.

In North Carolina, voters will decide whether to re-elect U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan or one of her rivals.

They will also choose other members of the U.S. Congress in the House of Representatives delegation, all 170 members of the General Assembly and dozens of judgeships.

Locally, there will also be scores of county commissioner, school board, sheriff, and clerk of court elections.

The key dates are: primary is May 6, with runoffs July 15 if needed and the general election is Nov. 4.

In just the first three days of filing in the Roanoke Chowan, Northampton County leads with nine filings while Bertie and Hertford County had four filings each.

“I think they’re going to wait late,” said Bertie County Board of Elections Director Sheila Holloman.

As of Wednesday, the four filings in Bertie were incumbent John Holley filing for re-election as Sheriff.

Incumbent Vasti James – who was sworn in to fill the unexpired term of retired John Tyler last December – will run for a full term as Bertie Clerk of Superior Court.  Mrs. James is being challenged by Magistrate Arthur J. Watford.

The other filing is John Hunter Davis of Merry Hill filing for County Commissioner, District-2, for the seat currently held by Rick Harrell.

“Anyone can file,” said Holloman. “All they have to do is come in and show proof that they are a resident of the county if seeking a county office, and pay the filing fee, which is one per cent of the starting salary of the office they seek.

“More people usually file on even-numbered years,” Holloman added. “A lot of this is because of these are the years of a general election.”

In Northampton County, Assistant Elections Director Linnie Moody said her early number of candidate filings represented citizens wanting to participate in government.

“I can’t say if there will or won’t be a lot of filings because it’s a general election year,” Moody said. “But it will pick up the closer it gets to the deadline.”

Among the early Northampton filings are Democrat Michael Wray of Gaston for NC House District 27 which serves Northampton and Halifax. Wray is the current House Minority Whip.

Two incumbent members of the Northampton Board of Commissioners have filed early: Chester Deloatch, Sr. in District 3, and Fannie Greene in District 5.

Current Northampton Clerk of Superior Court Laquitta Green Cooper has filed for re-election.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Jack Earl Smith, who was appointed by the county commissioners to serve out the remaining one year of the term of retired former sheriff Wardie Vincent, has filed to run for a full four-year term in office. So far one challenger for sheriff has filed: now-retired Detective Captain Brenda Burnette, who will be seeking to become the first female sheriff in the Roanoke-Chowan area.

Finally, three newcomers have filed for the three spots up for election to the Northampton County Board of Education: Lucy M. Edwards, Richie Harding, and Keedra Whitaker.

In Hertford County, three-term incumbent Annie Mobley has filed for re-election to NC House District 5. She will face opposition this year from current Hertford County Commissioner, Howard Hunter, III.  Ironically, Hunter’s father, Howard Hunter, Jr. held the District-5 House seat until his death in 2007 when Mobley succeeded him, first with an appointment then when she ran for her first full term.

Incumbent Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan, Sr. has filed early for another term and also filing for re-election is Curtis Freeman, Sr. for District-2 Hertford County Board of Commissioners.