05/06/04 — GOP has enough filers to challenge majority

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GOP has enough filers to challenge majority

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on May 6, 2004 2:03 PM

With only a day left in the filing period, the Republican Party has finally fielded enough candidates to challenge control of the Wayne County Board of Commissioners.

The board is currently split between four Democrats and three Republicans.

Ed Wharton filed Wednesday in District 5, and Roger Bedford filed in District 6. Until then, the GOP only had candidates for three of the seven commissioner seats.

Now voters will have at least four choices:

*Incumbent Atlas Price, a Democrat with 14 years experience, against real estate agent Hal Keck, a Republican making his first run for office, for the county board's at-large seat, the only one elected countywide.

*In District 4, Commissioner Efton Sager, a Republican, faces Mark Hood, a CP&L retiree and political newcomer.

*In District 5, Wharton, the county GOP chairman, will take on Roland "Bud" Gray, the long-time chief of the New Hope Volunteer Fire Department. This seat is currently held by Arnold Flowers, who will not seek re-election

*In District 6, Jack Best, a Democrat who was sworn into office this week, will have at least one challenger, Roger Bedford, who has been a GOP precinct chairman. Best has replaced Ken Gerrard, who resigned from the board.

Incumbents Andy Anderson, a Republican, and John M. Bell and Chairman J.D. Evans, both Democrats, have yet to draw challengers in their districts, but that could still change. The filing period ends at noon Friday.

There's still only one race among three seats on the Wayne County Board of Education. Joseph Hackett is challenging incumbent Pete Gurley for the at-large seat.

School board members Shirley Sims in District 2 and Thelma Smith in District 3 are still unopposed for re-election in their districts. School board races are nonpartisan.

Primary elections will be held Tuesday, July 20. The general election will be Tuesday, Nov. 2.

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, 1-919-733-7173.

The Wayne board is keeping an up-to-date list of filings on its Web site, www.waynegov.com/boe.