04/26/04 — Candidates begin filing throughout state

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Candidates begin filing throughout state

By Staff and Wire
Published in News on April 26, 2004 2:00 PM

From staff and AP reports

RALEIGH -- Candidates for federal, state and local offices finally are signing on the dotted lines as the election filing season got under way in North Carolina today.

The state Board of Elections and county election offices prepared to begin at noon accepting official notices from candidates who want to be on this year's ballots. The period will continue weekdays until May 7.

Candidates for a host of offices will file during the two-week period in this presidential election year.

Voters will choose a new governor, lieutenant governor, U.S. senator and members of Congress. All the Council of State positions are up for new four-year terms, along with all 170 seats in the General Assembly.

New district maps will apply for legislative races this year. 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.

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.

A host of judicial positions also are up for election, including several appellate court seats. Candidates for the state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals are able this year to participate in a new voluntary public financing program.

Wayne County races include all seven seats on the Board of Commissioners; Districts 2, 3 and the at-large seat on the Board of Education; register of deeds; and the Rollins seat on the Soil & Water Conservation District's Board of Supervisors.

The county will also be helping to choose five judges in Judicial District 8. Terms expire this year for Chief Judge Joseph E. Setzer Jr. and Judges David Brantley, Lonnie Carraway, Leslie Turner and Rose Vaughn Williams.

Legislative candidates and those for county offices will file candidacy papers at board offices in the counties in which they reside.

Gov. Mike Easley is expected to file for a second term as governor; several Republicans who have been running for months seeking to challenge him will square off in the primary. Like other partisan races, if no candidate receives more than 40 percent of the vote, the two top vote-getters will participate in a primary runoff Aug. 17.

It's unclear whether Democrat Erskine Bowles or Republican Richard Burr will receive primary opposition in seeking the U.S. Senate seat held by John Edwards. Edwards decided against a second term so he could run for president.

The start of the filing period was to begin Feb. 9, but litigation delays related to legislative redistricting prompted the state board to push back the opening. The primary election also was delayed from May 4 to the current July 20.

The general election will be held Nov. 2.