Monday, 02 December 2019 19:55

McInnis, Moss, Brewer file for state seats at Richmond County Board of Elections

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Elections Director Connie Kelly checks paperwork Monday after Ben Moss files to run for the N.C. House of Representatives and Tom McInnis files to retain his seat in the state Senate. Elections Director Connie Kelly checks paperwork Monday after Ben Moss files to run for the N.C. House of Representatives and Tom McInnis files to retain his seat in the state Senate. William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — Only three local candidates showed up at the Richmond County Board of Elections Monday to file paperwork to be on the ballot next November.

Two Republicans, Tom McInnis and Ben Moss, were both there shortly after filing began at noon to run for state offices.

McInnis is aiming to retain his seat in the North Carolina Senate, which he won in the 2014 election and has been re-elected to twice.

“It is with great humility that I filed today for the office of state Senate, District 25 … to finish the work that we started several years ago,” McInnis said. “While we’ve accomplished many great things in the past six years, we still have many of our rural counties that continue to suffer because of the Great Recession.”

The only way to get those counties “back on the top again,” he added, is through the education system.

“We have been able and will continue to be able to train most of our folks through the community college system and the dual enrollment program at the high school,” he continued. “And this will allow these citizens who take that opportunity to have a chance at the jobs of today not the jobs of yesterday. That will be the difference in bringing the rural counties out of the ditch and back up on the center of the road.”

According to the N.C. State Board of Elections, no one has yet filed to run against McInnis.

He defeated challenges from Anson County educator Dannie Montgomery in 2016 and Moore County’s Helen Probst Mills in 2018.

Moss is hoping for a chance to go to Raleigh after serving nearly a decade as a county commissioner — the first Republican elected to the board in more than a century.

There’s a good chance Moss’ first hurdle will be a Republican primary. Although Ellerbe’s Joshua Flores and Seagrove’s Joey Davis have both announced their intent to run, neither filed on Monday.

Davis challenged former Rep. Ken Goodman for the seat in 2018.

Goodman garnered a little more than 50 percent of the vote with 13,361 votes cast in his favor. Davis secured nearly 47 percent with 12,338 and Green Party candidate Justin Miller came in at 2.12 percent with 556 votes.

Flores, who reportedly has campaign signs up, may have a tougher time in the primary after being convicted Jan. 29 on one misdemeanor count each of larceny and financial card fraud in Stanly County.

“It’s not going to be easy,” Moss said of the primary, adding that he still has to introduce himself to voters in Montgomery and Stanly counties. “Naturally, I hope that I win … but we’ll just have to leave it up to the voters.”

If elected, Moss said his main goal will try to do what the voters want him to do.

“If it means going against party lines … you need to be more loyal to the people you represent versus to the party,” he said.

Whoever makes it past the primary will likely face Rep. Scott Brewer, D-Richmond, who was appointed to the seat earlier this year after Goodman was appointed to the to the N.C. Industrial Commission.

Moss said he thinks the district is more favorable to a Republican, although the seat has been held by a Democrat for decades.

Brewer also filed on Monday.

“I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to serve the people of the district and hope to have the opportunity to keep serving,” he said.

Since taking the oath in May, Brewer said the most satisfying part of the job has been helping constituents with issues - at least getting answers if he couldn’t help solve the problem.

The legislature reconvenes in January where two of the biggest issues to tackle will be teacher raises and Medicaid expansion.

Brewer said he hopes Republicans and Democrats can find common ground.

“It’s important we sit down and try to work something out,” he said.

Moss had a similar sentiment.

“You’ve got to work across the aisle,” he said. “You’re not going to be able to get anything done if you’re not able to work across the aisle. Right now, I think we’re seeing that more and more. We’re not really accomplishing stuff we need to on the state level.”

This filing period is also open to candidates for U.S. Senate and House, the Richmond County boards of commissioners and education and register of deeds, as well as judicial seats.

Superior Court judges Steve Futrell and Dawn Layton will both be on the ballot for the first time. Futrell has been on the bench for a year and Layton took the oath in August.

Futrell, Layton and District Court Judge Amy Wilson will have to file with the State Board of Elections in Raleigh.

Elections Director Connie Kelly said Monday that she has certified the paperwork for Futrell and Wilson to mail in.

There are three seats up for reelection on both the School Board (Jerry Etheridge, Wiley Mabe and Ronald Tillman) and Board of Commissioners (John Garner, Kenneth Robinette and Jimmy Capps).

The filing period ends at noon Dec. 20