ROCKINGHAM — Two candidates filed for their respective contests Monday at the Richmond County Board of Elections.
Former airport director Jason Gainey became the third Republican to file for the Richmond County Board of Commissioners.
The other two Republicans are serving Commissioners Justin Dawnkins and Dr. Rick Watkins, who are up for reelection, along with Democrats Tavares Bostic and Don Bryant, who have also filed.
Watkins, who was elected with Bostic in 2018, was registered as a Democrat but changed his party affiliation prior to the original filing period, which opened in December.
Dawkins was appointed to his seat in late 2021 to fill the remainder of Ben Moss’ term after Moss was elected to the N.C. House of Representatives. He currently serves as vice chairman of the board.
Bostic’s filing last week set up a Democratic primary with him and Bryant facing challenges from fellow party members Abbie Covington, Michael Legrand and Linda Ross.
There will only be a Republican primary for that race if two or more candidates file for that party.
The top four vote-getters from each party will be on the November ballot.
Three other candidates are going a different route for ballot access.
Joe Ward, Bryan Stanback and former Hamlet Councilman Johnathan Buie are unaffiliated candidates petitioning for signatures.
Petitioners will have to solicit 1,094 valid signatures from Richmond County voters by May 17 to be on the ballot, according to Elections Director Connie Kelly. If they succeed, they will then have to pay the filing fee.
No signatures for the commissioners’ race had been turned in by Monday, according to Kelly.
Another petitioning candidate, Ashley Brower, is running against Vickie Daniel for Clerk of Superior Court. As of last Thursday, Kelly said Brower had turned in around 800 signatures.
The other candidate who filed Monday is Richmond County Board of Education member Joe Richardson.
He is the second of four incumbents to file for reelection to the school board. Bobbie Sue Ormsby filed on Dec. 6. The other two seats are currently held by Pat Campbell and Daryl Mason.
Campbell doesn’t plan to run for reelection due to health issues, family members told the RO on Monday.
There are five challengers so far in the school board election: longtime educator Cory Satterfield; Ellerbe Commissioner Jeremy McKenzie; Scotty Baldwin; Bess Shuler; and Eddie Rainwater.
That election will be held on May 17, along with the primaries.
The race for Richmond County Sheriff will also be on the ballot for the Democratic primary, as former NYPD officer Nigel Bristow filed Thursday to challenge Sheriff Mark Gulledge, who was appointed following the unexpected death of Sheriff James E. Clemmons Jr. in August 2021.
Gulledge served as Clemmons’ chief deputy for a decade.
The Republicans will also have a primary for the N.C. House of Representatives.
Richmond County’s Ben Moss is double-bunked with Moore County’s Jamie Boles and the two will have to square off for the new House District 52.
Moss had intended to file on opening day, but candidates for the state House, Senate and U.S. House weren’t allowed to after a three-judge panel of the N.C. Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay due to legal challenges regarding the new maps.
That stay was overturned and Moss filed on Dec. 7 — before the N.C. Supreme Court halted all filing the following day.
After two months of legal wrangling and redrawing of maps, filing resumed Feb. 24.
No Democrats or Libertarians have filed for the seat, according to records with the N.C. State Board of Elections.
So far, no one has filed to challenge Sen. Dave Craven, R-Randolph, for the District 29 Senate seat.
Sen. Tom McInnis, who currently represents Richmond County, switched his residency to Moore County last summer to run for the 21st District covering Moore and part of Cumberland.
District Court Judge Chevonne Wallace and District Attorney Reece Saunders, both Democrats, are unopposed.
Filing ends at noon Friday, March 4.