04/25/04 — Filing period opens Monday

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Filing period opens Monday

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on April 25, 2004 2:08 AM

Political control of Wayne County is up for grabs as the 2004 election season officially begins this week.

Filing opens at noon Monday at the Wayne County Board of Elections and other elections offices across the state. It closes at noon Friday, May 7.

Several local, state and federal offices will be on the ballot this year. Three seats are available on the school board. Primary elections will be held on Tuesday, July 20. The general election will be Tuesday, Nov. 2.

Among the most intriguing races will be those for the Wayne County Board of Commissioners.

The Republican Party has made historic gains in traditionally Democractic Wayne, electing three members to the county board in 2000. The party hopes to break through this year and gain a fourth member and the majority.

But the Democrats believe that it can maintain its 4-3 margin or even increase it. Two candidates have already announced for seats held now by Republicans.

The parties will be fighting on slightly shifted battlegrounds. The commissioners' districts were redrawn last year, so the incumbents have typically lost supporters or gained areas where they hadn't campaigned previously.

Maps of the new districts can be viewed on the Board of Elections' website; go to www.waynegov.com and choose "Board of Elections" under departments.

Both parties plan to run full slates of candidates this year, although many names haven't yet surfaced.

The Republicans who've already annouced are Andy Anderson, District 1; Efton Sager, #4; and Hal Keck, at large.

The Democrats are J.D. Evans, #2; John Bell, #3; Mark Hood, #4; Roland "Bud" Gray, #5; Jack Best, #6; and Atlas Price, at large.

Len Henderson has said that he will run as an independent candidate for the at-large seat.

It costs $80 to file for Wayne County commissioner. Primaries will be required if two or more people from the same party file for the same office.

General Assembly

All terms in the N.C. General Assembly expire this year. Incumbents and challengers will be running under new districts approved by the Legislature last fall.

Wayne County is now split between two N.C. Senate districts: the 5th (previously the 7th), represented by Sen. John Kerr, Democrat, of Goldsboro; and the 12th, Sen. Fred Smith, Republican, of Clayton.

Redistricting left N.C. Sen. Tony Moore of Greenville also in the 5th. Moore switched parties and now plans to run against Kerr as a Republican.

The county is also divided between three N.C. House districts: the 10th, represented by Stephen LaRoque, Republican, of Kinston; the 11th, Rep. Louis Pate, Republican, of Mount Olive; and the 21st, Rep. Larry Bell, Democrat, of Clinton.

All the incumbents are expected to seek re-election. The filing fee for a legislative seat is $207. Maps of the districts can be viewed at www.ncga.state.nc.us.

Other state elections include governor, lieutenant governor, superintendent of public instruction, attorney general, commissioner of labor, secretary of state, commissioner of insurance, secretary of state, state auditor, commissioner of agriculture, state treasurer, associate justice in the N.C. Supreme Court and three judges for the N.C. Court of Appeals.

Other seats

Three Board of Education seats also expire this year. Shirley Sims (#2), Thelma Smith (#3) and Pete Gurley (at large) all plan to run again. No challengers have declared yet.

School board races are non-partisan. The school board uses the same districts as the commissioners. The filing fee is $99.

The county will also choose its register of deeds next fall. John Chance, a Democrat who was appointed to the position in November, has said he will file, as has Chris West, a Republican making his first run for office. The fee is $460.

Terms expire this year for five judges in Judicial District 8: Chief Judge Joseph E. Setzer Jr. and judges David Brantley, Lonnie Carraway, Leslie Turner and Rose Vaughn Williams. The filing fee is $919.

The Rollins seat on the Soil & Water Conservation District's Board of Supervisors will also be open. The fee is $5.

Several federal offices will be this fall's ballot, including president and vice president; the U.S. Senate office now held by Democrat John Edwards; and the 1st and 3rd districts in the U.S. House.

Anyone interested in local election information can contact the Wayne County Board of Elections at 731-1411. Information about filing for state and national office is available at the State Board of Elections, 919-733-7173.

The Wayne board plans to keep an up-to-date list of filing on its website, www.waynegov.com/boe.