Wednesday, 04 December 2019 20:33

5 more file for local offices in 2 days; Goodwin announces another run for insurance commissioner

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School board member Ronald Tillman, right, waits in line behind Lee Berry at the Richmond County Board of Elections as they file for office on Tuesday. School board member Ronald Tillman, right, waits in line behind Lee Berry at the Richmond County Board of Elections as they file for office on Tuesday. William R. Toler

ROCKINGHAM — The second two days of the filing period for the 2020 election saw only five candidates make their way to the Richmond County Board of Elections.

Jeff Smart, of Hamlet, was the first to file to run as a county commissioner on Tuesday.

He was later followed by Lee Berry and Commissioner Jimmy Capps.

Berry, who stepped down Monday night as mayor of Ellerbe, said he was running to be “a voice for the northern part of the county and a voice for Richmond County.”

“Nobody has represented the northern part of the county since Junior Wilson,” Berry said.

The late Wilson was a farmer, like Berry.

Berry, owner of the Berry Patch, also serves as chairman of the Farm Service Agency Board and Sandhills AGInnovation Center Governing Board.

“Not that it’s all about farming, but Richmond County is big in (agriculture),” he said.

The two main issues Berry said he plans to focus on, if elected, are improving the county’s water system and helping to bring more jobs to the area.

Likewise, Capps, who is filing for his third term after first being elected in 2012, wants to “keep the momentum” rolling.

“My first two terms, I feel like Richmond County has made some positive gains … we’ve done a lot of ...giant steps in the right direction,” Capps said.

Smart could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening.

The seats currently held by commissioners Kenneth Robinette and John Garner - who were re-elected Tuesday night by their fellow board members as chairman and vice chairman, respectively, heading into their 22nd year in those positions - are up in the 2020 election.

Three seats on the Richmond County Board of Education are also up for re-election - those held by Ronald Tilman, Jerry Etheridge and Chairman Wiley Mabe.

Tilman filed on Tuesday and Etheridge filed Wednesday - the only candidate that day.

On the state side, Moore County Democrat Helen Probst Mills filed Tuesday to run against Sen. Tom McInnis, R-Richmond.

McInnis defeated a challenge from Mills in 2018. 

Senate District 25 covers Richmond, Moore, Anson and Scotland counties. The majority of voters in the heavily Democratic Anson County picked Mills, but McInnis carried the other three, according to the N.C. State Board of Elections.

Montgomery County Republican Joey Davis jumped into the N.C. House District 66 race on Monday. 

(The State Board of Elections website did not reflect his entry when the RO checked prior to writing the story on Monday.)

Davis and Richmond County Commissioner Ben Moss will have to face each other in a primary before going head to head with Rep. Scott Brewer, who was appointed to the seat earlier this year.

Davis came out swinging against Brewer in a press release sent late Monday night.

“The representative for District 66 should be a voice for the people, not a rubber stamp for the governor,” Davis said in a statement. “Since being appointed to office last spring, Scott Brewer has been the governor’s representative, not the people’s.” 

Davis secured nearly 47 percent of the vote last year when he ran against former Rep. Ken Goodman, who has since been appointed to the N.C. Industrial Commission.

Moss and Brewer both filed on Monday.

Although he has yet to file, Hamlet native and state Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin announced on his Facebook page Monday that he would seek a third non-consecutive term as state insurance commissioner.

He was elected to the position in 2008 and held the job until being unseated by Republican Mike Causey in 2016. Prior to that he served four terms in the state House.

Goodwin’s post read: “On my watch, I saved consumers $2.4 BILLION ... approved the lowest average auto insurance rates in the USA ... ordered refunds of $156 Million to 215,000 North Carolinians after I solved a health insurance dispute and ordered the refund of $50 Million to NC drivers ... and, assessed the largest NC fine ever against an insurance company (and those millions of dollars were used to benefit NC public schools).”

On the judicial side, Superior Court Judge Stephan Futrell and Chief District Court Judge Amy Wilson have both filed for their respective seats, while Superior Court Judge Dawn Layton has yet to do so, according to state records.

Futrell and Layton were both appointed to the bench by Gov. Roy Cooper within the past year.

The filing period ends at noon Dec. 20


Last modified on Wednesday, 04 December 2019 20:46