Political battle develops

Published 2:03 pm Tuesday, July 1, 2014

WINDSOR – There will be a contested race in the November election for one of the seats on the Bertie County Board of Commissioners.

Stewart White met the June 27 deadline to have his name printed on the November 3 General Election ballot as an unaffiliated candidate by submitting the required number of petitions to the county Board of Elections office.

This means White will oppose Democratic May primary winner, John H. “Johnny” Davis, for the District 2 seat currently held by Rick Harrell, who chose not to seek another term in office.

Back on May 6, Davis won over Democrat challenger, Rev. James Clemons in a three-way race with 1,604 votes to 1,227 for Clemons and incumbent Harrell receiving 536 votes.

Davis is currently a professor in the College of Business at his alma mater, East Carolina University, in the Leadership and Professional Development Program. White, his November challenger, is employed by the Town of Ahoskie as the manager of the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

According to state law petitions must be received by noon on the last Friday in June preceding the general election and signed by a number of registered voters in the district equaling four percent of the total number of registered voters as of January of the election year.  Afterward, the Board of Elections has to certify that all the signatures on the petition are of registered voters.

“Mr. White had the required number of signatures: 577,” said Bertie County Board of Elections Director Sheila Holloman, “and they have all been certified by this office.”

Holloman said there was one other unaffiliated petition filed but that candidate did not submit the required number of signatures as of Friday’s deadline.

With the unaffiliated deadline passed, only write-in voting remains.  A person seeking to become a write-in candidate must submit a petition signed by a number of qualified voters, depending on how many registered voters are eligible to vote for this office. If there are 5,000 or more such voters, the requirement is 100 signatures. If the there are fewer than 5,000 voters, the requirement is signatures totaling one percent of the number of registered voters eligible to vote for the office. The petitions are submitted to the Board of Elections office. The Board of Elections office will verify the petitions. The petition forms and a declaration of intent form are due at the Board of Elections office by the deadline of noon on August 6, which marks the 90 days before the General Election.

Also, three seats are up for grabs on the Bertie County Board of Education.  Incumbent Emma Johnson, who represents Districts 3 on the school board, has filed and is unopposed as of Monday. To date, District 2 incumbent Ricky Freeman has not filed.

However, three candidates have filed for the seat in District 4, including incumbent and Roxobel native Alton Parker.  The other two candidates who will oppose him are Bryan Akeem Ruffin and former Bertie High School football coach, Clarence B. “Barry” McGlone. Both those candidates hail from Lewiston-Woodville.

Also filing were the current occupants of the two seats on the Bertie County Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors. Those seats are currently held by Robert Hoggard and James Pugh; and both have filed for re-election.

Filing ends at 12 noon on Monday, July 7.