ROCKINGHAM — A candidate trying to get on the ballot as an unaffiliated candidate didn’t get the required signatures needed.
T.J. Davenport was running for the Richmond County Board of Commissioners and, not being associated with a political party, had to turn in nearly 1,200 signatures to get his name on the ballot in November.
According to the process, he was required to collect 1,116 signatures, or 4% of the county’s registered voters by noon Tuesday.
Davenport said he collected only about 700.
“I received tremendous support from the community in the petition process,” Davenport said in a Facebook message to the Richmond Observer Tuesday afternoon.
“The largest hurdle for myself, as well as the folks helping me obtain signatures, was a lot of people did not understand what it was and why it was needed even after you explained it,” he continued. “People didn’t seem comfortable giving personal information not fully understanding why it was necessary.”
Kenneth Robinette, chairman of the Richmond County Board of Commissioners, had to do the same thing several years ago when he switched from the Democratic Party to unaffiliated.
Although he won’t be on this year’s ballot, Davenport said he plans to run again in the future — “… and it’s safe to say it will not be as an unaffiliated candidate.”
However, he’s as yet undecided on which political party to run with.
“It will be a very tough decision to make but I will lean to prayer and advice from some very close friends in politics to help guide me to my decision,” Davenport said.
While he admits the process for an unaffiliated candidate is more challenging than running under the banner of a recognized party, Davenport said he respects it as it “it is how the system is at the moment.”
“I don’t see this as a deterrent,” he said, “but more motivation to come back with a different approach.”