By JOY CRIST
The 2018 Election Season officially began on Monday, February 12, as filing opened in Dare and Hyde Counties for an array of positions.
And while there’s still time for more candidates to join in the mix, (as filing remains open until February 28), 2018 is already shaping up to be an interesting election year.
As one local official we talked to earlier this week put it, “This year, your vote will be worth its weight in gold. There are a lot of qualified candidates out there, and it’s going to be an exciting election.”
Right off the bat, there are two races in particular that are already making waves on social media and in local conversations, and which will be worth watching in the months to come.
Arguably, the most discussed race thus far is the pending match-up of incumbent Beverly Boswell (R) against Tess Judge (D) for the N.C. House District 6 seat. This race is a rematch of sorts, as Tess Judge was a last minute Democratic candidate in the 2016 election after her husband, Warren Judge, passed away a few days before the November vote. Expect this race to generate heated conversations, as both candidates already have dedicated supporters, just days after they announced their intentions to run.
Another interesting race to watch is for the at-large seat for the Dare County Board of Commissioners, which is currently held by Jack Shea. There are two Republican candidates on the ballot for the May 8 primary - Ed Danko of Avon and Anne P. Petera – and one democratic candidate, Ervin Bateman. Numerous sources have touted the qualifications of each of the three candidates, as they all bring a heavy dose of political and / or community experience to the table.
There’s also some changes to the 2018 election season to keep in mind, too.
For one thing, 2018 is the first year that local school board candidates are running along party lines. The Board of Education’s non-partisan status for nine counties, (including Dare and Hyde), was eliminated per a law that was passed by the N.C. General Assembly in late June of 2017.
The new law called for nine counties to transition from non-partisan school board elections, which were previously held during spring primaries, to party-affiliated ones held during the November general elections. Though the measure received criticism from organizations in the community, (including members of the Dare County Board of Commissioners and Board of Education), it passed and went into effect beginning this year.
For another, the legislative districts are slightly different after the maps were redrawn per court order, with Dare now in the same House District 6 as Currituck, Hyde and Pamlico counties, and the Senate’s First District expanded to a total of 11 counties.
With new rules in effect, and a long list of qualified candidates already on the ballot, expect plenty of coverage on the 2018 election in the months to come. We’re a long ways away from November to be sure, but the political conversations are already beginning.
In the meantime, here’s a brief review of the candidates for local and state elections who have filed thus far.
N.C. House – District 6
Beverly Boswell (R) - incumbent
Tess Judge (D)
N.C. Senate – District 1
Bob Steinburg (R)
Clark Twiddy (R)
(Current Sen. Bill Cook, R-Chocowinity announced he would retire.)
District Attorney – District 1
R. Andrew Womble (R) - incumbent
District Attorney – District 3
Seth Edwards (D)
Candidates in Dare County
Commissioner At-Large (Currently held by Jack Shea)
Ed Danko (R)
Anne P. Petera (R)
Ervin Bateman (D)
Commissioner District 1
Jim Tobin (R) - incumbent
Commissioner District 2
Rob Ross (R) - incumbent
Board of Education District 1 (Currently held by Charlotte White)
Frank O. Hester (R)
Board of Education District 2
Jen Alexander (D)
Joe Tauber (R) - incumbent
Board of Education District 3
Margaret Lawler (D) - incumbent
J.D. “Doug” Doughtie (R) - incumbent
Clerk of Superior Court
Dean Martin Tolson (R) - incumbent
Register of Deeds
Cheryl House (R)
Vanzolla McMurran (D) - incumbent
Candidates in Hyde County
Carl (Guire) Cahoon (D) - incumbent
Register of Deeds
E. Merita Lewis-Spencer (D)
Clerk of Court
Brandy C. Pugh (D)