Political races take shape

Published 7:47 am Monday, February 24, 2014

With less than one week remaining for political candidates to file for the May Primary, action is picking up in the Roanoke-Chowan area.

Races have developed for Board of Commissioner seats in Bertie, Hertford and Northampton counties as well as for Northampton County Sheriff; District 6 Attorney; NC House District 5 and District 27, and NC Senate District 1.

And, in one of the biggest political announcements to date, current Northampton County Board of Education member Erica Smith-Ingram has opted to seek the NC Senate District 3 seat currently held by Democratic incumbent Clark Jenkins of Tarboro. As of Friday, Jenkins has yet to file for reelection, although sources say he will seek another two-year term in Raleigh.

Another multi-county race has developed with the two current District Attorneys – Valerie Asbell of Ahoskie in 6B (Bertie, Hertford and Northampton) and Melissa Draffin Pelfrey of Littleton (Halifax County) – both filing earlier this week for the newly combined District 6 that will take shape on Jan. 1, 2015.

In NC House District 5, three-term incumbent Annie Mobley of Ahoskie has filed for reelection. She will face opposition from current Hertford County Commissioner Howard Hunter, III, also of Ahoskie. Both are Democrats. House District 5 encompasses all of Bertie, Gates and Hertford counties, and a portion of PasquotankCounty.

NC House District 27 incumbent Michael Wray of Gaston will seek another term. To date, he will have at least one challenger in the May Democratic Primary as Franklin D. Williams Jr. of Weldon has entered the race. District 27 is comprised of Halifax and Northampton counties.

Republican incumbent Bill Cook of Chocowinity has filed for reelection in NC Senate District 1, which includes GatesCounty. To date, two Democrats – former Senator Stan White of Nags Head and Judy Krahenbuhl of Manteo –   will square off in the Senate District 1 Primary with the winner advancing to November’s General Election.

Races have also developed at the county level as follows:


(Note: I denotes incumbent)

Board of Commissioners (District 2): Rick Harrell (I); John (Johnny) Davis; and

Clerk of Superior Court: Vasti F. James (I – appointed to fill the unexpired term of now retired Clerk, John Tyler); Arthur J. Watford Jr.

Also filing in BertieCounty and unopposed to date are incumbents John Holley (Sheriff), J. Wallace Perry (Board of Commissioners – District 3), and Charles L. Smith (Board of Commissioners – District 5).


(Note: I denotes incumbent)

Board of Commissioners (District 2): Curtis Freeman (I); Rev. Daniel Smith Sr.

Unopposed, to date, for Hertford County local government seats are incumbents Juan Vaughan (Sheriff), Johnnie Ray Farmer (District 1 Board of Commissioners), and Shirley Johnson (Clerk of Superior Court).


(Note: I denotes incumbent)

Sheriff: Jack Smith (I – appointed to fill the unexpired term of now retired Sheriff Wardie Vincent); Brenda Burnette; and

Board of Commissioners (District 5): Fannie P. Greene (I); Jason Moore

Filing unopposed to date are incumbents Chester J. Deloatch Sr. (Board of Commissioners – District 3), Robert V. Carter (Board of Commissioners – District 4), and Laquitta Green Cooper (Clerk of Superior Court).

Filing is also underway for the Northampton County Board of Education. That group, to date, includes Lucy M. Edwards of Henrico, Richie Harding of Pleasant Hill, Keedra Whitaker of Rich Square, Becky Turner of Jackson, and Rhonda Taylor of Potecasi.


To date, no head-to-head races have developed for the May Primary. Filing as of Friday, Feb. 21, in Gates County were:

Nell F. Wiggins will seek another four-year term as Clerk of Superior Court as will veteran Gates County Sheriff Ed Webb.

For the three available seats in this election cycle on the Board of Commissioners, Billy Felton is seeking to solicit the public’s vote for the first time after being appointed last year to fill the unexpired term of former Eure District Commissioner John Hora, who tragically lost his life in an auto accident. Also, political newcomer Joseph Ray Freeman III filed for the Gates District Commissioner’s seat currently held by Kenneth Jernigan. Jernigan, who has served two terms on the Board, has made it clear he will not seek reelection.

The Commission seat of current Vice Chairman Jack Owens (Gatesville District) is also open during this election cycle, but he had not filed as of Friday.

Two individuals have filed for the Gates County Board of Education – incumbent Glendale Boone and Daniel Lee Dickerson. Veteran School Board members Doug Lilley and Leslie Byrum, whose seats are open during this year’s election cycle, had not filed as of Feb. 20.

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

The key dates are: Primary on May 6, with runoffs July 15 if needed, and the General Election is Nov. 4.

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.

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