Election filing to begin next week for 2016 primary

By Mary Katherine Murphy - [email protected]

LAURINBURG — Filing opens next week for local and state offices to be contested during the 2016 election season, with seats on the Scotland County Board of Education and Scotland County Board of Commissioners among those up for grabs.

North Carolina’s 2016 primary is scheduled for March 15, 2016. Filing opens at noon on Dec. 1 and will end at noon on Dec. 21.

The Scotland County Board of Education and Scotland County Board of Commissioners will each have four seats open.

On the school board, the seats of Stewartsville members Jeff Byrd, Wayne Cromartie, and Pat Gates will be open to challengers, as will the seat of at-large member Charles Brown. The filing fee for school board candidates is $10.

If the total number of school board candidates does not exceed twice the number of vacant seats, then all candidates will appear on the ballot for the November general election.

“It comes down to how many people actually file for school board,” said Elections Director Dell Parker. “For Stewartsville, if six or fewer people file, then it will bypass the primary.”

All other races contested next year will be partisan, and candidates must be affiliated with their party for at least 75 days prior to filing. Anyone who changed their party affiliation after Oct. 7, 2015 is ineligible to file.

On the county board of commissioners, the seats of Laurel Hill commissioner John Alford, Williamson commissioner Bob Davis, at-large commissioner Whit Gibson, and Stewartsville commissioner Clarence McPhatter will all be open. The filing fee for county commissioner seats is $63.

Those wishing to run as unaffiliated candidates for the office of county commissioner must submit a petition to the elections board by June 2016 with signatures from four percent of the county’s registered voters.

“They can bypass the primary and go to a general as unaffiliated but what they have to do depends on they type of office they want to run for,” Parker said.

Those interested in the office of Register of Deeds will have the opportunity — for a $535 filing fee — to put their names forth. The office is currently held by Page Pratt, who was appointed to the position earlier this year after Debra Holcomb retired.

All three of Scotland County’s representatives in the N.C. General Assembly will be up for re-election: state Senate District 25 representative Tom McInnis of Ellerbe, District 66 state Rep. Ken Goodman of Rockingham, and District 48 state Rep. Garland Pierce. The filing fee for each of those offices is $207.

Kristy Newton, District Attorney for North Carolina’s 16A prosecutorial district, which includes Hoke and Scotland counties, will also be up for re-election. The filing fee for that office is $1,193.

On the county’s Soil and Water District advisory board, Bryan Hagler’s seat will be available. Filing for that seat will begin on June 13, 2016 and end on July 1, 2016.

Also up for re-election are District Court judges Richard Brown, Michael Stone, Lisa Thacker, Tanya Wallace, and Amanda Wilson and N.C. Court of Appeals judges Richard Dietz, Robert N. Hunter, Jr., Linda Stephens, and Valerie Zachary. Filing for those seats will be held at the N.C. State Board of Elections in Raleigh.

Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.

By Mary Katherine Murphy

[email protected]

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