ROCKINGHAM — Barring any other legal delays, filing should reopen for candidates in Richmond County and across North Carolina next month.
Filing was halted by the N.C. Supreme Court on Dec. 8, 2021 — just three days into the period for this year’s elections. However, a three-judge panel on Tuesday granted a request to open filing on Feb. 24 for state and local offices.
Richmond County Superior Court Judge Dawn Layton was the sole Democrat on the panel. Layton, a former assistant district attorney, was appointed to the bench by Gov. Roy Cooper in 2019.
The Richmond County boards of Education and County Commissioners each have four seats up for grabs.
The seats up for reelection on the school board are currently held by Bobbie Sue Ormsby, Pat Campbell, Daryl Mason and Joe Richardson.
Ormsby was the only incumbent to sign up prior to the pause. Longtime and recently retired educator Cory Satterfield was the last candidate to file before the court order. Newcomer Scotty Baldwin and Ellerbe Town Commissioner Jeremy McKenzie also filed to run for the school board.
The election for the Board of Education, which is a non-partisan race, will be held the same day as the primary elections, which is scheduled for May 17.
The four seats on the Board of Commissioners up for reelection are held by Tavares Bostic, Dr. Rick Watkins, Don Bryant and Justin Dawkins.
Dawkins was appointed in December of 2020 to fill out the remainder of Ben Moss’ term after Moss was elected to the N.C. House of Representatives.
Bryant and Dawkins both filed on opening day, but neither Watkins — who switched his party affiliation to Republican — nor Bostic filed before the halt. Democratic challengers Michael Legrand and Linda Ross have filed for the race.
If there are more than four candidates from each party, the top four vote-getters in the primary will advance to the November ballot, according to Elections Director Connie Kelly.
There are also two unaffiliated candidates, according to Kelly, who plan to get on the ballot via petition signatures: Joe Ward and Johnathan Buie. Buie is a former Hamlet city councilman.
Kelly said she has yet to receive any signatures from either of the potential candidates.
However, she has received some from Ashley Brower, who is petitioning to challenge Democratic incumbent Vickie Daniel for the Clerk of Court position.
The other local race is for sheriff.
Sheriff Mark Gulledge, who was appointed last summer following the death of the late James E. Clemmons Jr., filed on opening day.
His intended challenger, Nigel Bristow, had planned to file but lacked certain paperwork because elections officials had a wrong email address for him. Kelly previously told the RO (prior to the filing halt) that Bristow should be able to complete the paperwork in time.
With the aforementioned legislative maps, Richmond County falls under different districts for state House and Senate, as well as the U.S. House of Representatives.
Moss, who is running for his second term, currently serves House District 66, which, in addition to Richmond, also includes Montgomery County and a sliver of northeastern Stanly County.
However, the new maps lump Richmond with part of Moore County — currently represented by Jamie Boles — to make the new District 52.
Moss filed last month and Boles said he plans to when filing reopens.
The House seat representing Richmond County has long been held by a Richmond County resident, most recently Scott Brewer, who was appointed to fill the remainder of Ken Goodman’s term. Prior to Goodman, Wayne and the late Melanie Goodwin served a combined seven terms.
Moss is the first Republican to hold the seat.
While the current District 25, represented by Sen. Tom McInnis, comprises all of Richmond, Anson, Moore and Scotland counties, the new District 29 takes away Moore and Scotland counties and adds Montgomery, the western half of Randolph and southeastern Union.
Sen. Dave Craven, R-Randolph, filed to retain his seat, according to the Randolph County Board of Elections.
Craven was appointed in the summer of 2020 to fill out the remainder of the term vacated by the resignation of Sen. Jerry Tillman, and was elected to the seat last November.
McInnis — who switched his residency to Moore County to run for the new Senate District 21, which comprises Moore and most of Cumberland County — also filed previously.
State records show that District Attorney Reece Saunders has also filed, as have District Court judges Chevonne Wallace (Seat 03) and Chris Rhue (Seat 01).
Filing fees are as follows:
- Sheriff – $909
- Clerk of Court – $998
- N.C. Senate and N.C. House – $140
- Richmond County Board of Education – $27
- Richmond County Board of Commissioners – $140
All filing fees more than $50 must be paid by check.
The filing period starts at 8 a.m. Feb. 24 and runs through noon on March 4.
Anyone with questions about filing should call the Board of Elections at 910-997-8253.