By Catharin Shepard
By the time the candidate filing period closed Friday, a dozen candidates had filed to run for one of the three available seats on the Hoke County Board of Commissioners.
Republicans John F. Harry and Angela Thomas, and Democrats William “Brownie” Brown, Richard Byrd, Charles Daniels, Tony Hunt (incumbent), Michael Lindsay, Freddie McPhaul, Clifford “Cliff” Overby, Jean Powell (incumbent), Harry Southerland and Allen Thomas filed to run for the commission. Incumbent Ellen McNeill is not running for reelection.
Several incumbents in major local races will run unopposed this year. Incumbent Sheriff Hubert Peterkin was the only candidate to file to run for that office. Incumbent Hoke County Clerk of Court Evelyn McLeod and long-time county coroner G. Franklin Crumpler are also unopposed.
Three District Court judges in District 16A are running unopposed. Incumbent judges Scott T. Brewer and Regina M. Joe and candidate Chris Rhue are seeking office without challengers. Rhue is seeking incumbent Chief District Judge William McIlwain’s seat. McIlwain is not running for reelection.
Three people filed to run for incumbent Robin Hudson’s seat as a Supreme Court Associate Justice. Hudson and candidates Eric Levinson and Jeanette Doran are running for the office.
Hoke-born state Sen. Ben Clark, a Democrat incumbent representing Hoke as part of state Senate District 21, filed to run for reelection. Democratic candidates Sylvia Adamsczyk, Eronomy Smith and Billy R. King filed to run for the position. No Republicans filed to run in the race.
Hoke County’s state legislators in the House of Representatives are running unopposed. Democratic incumbents Rep. Garland Pierce of District 48 and Rep. Ken Goodman of District 66 were the only candidates who filed to run for those seats in the state General Assembly.
In national races, five people filed to run for office in the U.S. House of Representatives 2nd District and six people filed to run for office in the 7th District. In the U.S. House 2nd District, Republicans Renee Ellmers (incumbent) and Frank Roche filed to run and Democrats Clay Aiken, Keith Crisco and Toni Morris filed to run. In the U.S. House 7th District, Libertarian J. Wesley Casteen, Republicans Chris Andrade, David Rouzer and Woody White and Democrats Jonathan Barfield Jr. and Walter Martin filed to run. The 7th District incumbent Mike McIntyre, a Democrat, is not running for reelection.
This fall, voters will also select three candidates to serve on the Hoke County Board of Education and fill seats on the soil and water board. Those races are nonpartisan and the filing period for those races does not open until this summer.
Those candidates running for election unopposed will not be on the May primary ballot but will be on the November ballot.
This is the third time in the last 22 years Hoke voters have had a large number of candidates running for the commission, Board of Elections Director Caroline Shook said. In 1992, 11 candidates ran for two seats on the board and in 2006 nine candidates ran for three seats on the commission.
Important election dates:
One-stop voting begins: Thursday, April 24
One-stop voting ends: Saturday, May 3
Primary Election Day: Tuesday, May 6
Second primary (if needed): June 24 or July 15 (Depending on Congressional races)
Board of Education filing: July 7-August 4
Soil and Water Conservation Board filing: June 9-July 7
One-stop voting for general election begins: Thursday, October 23
One-stop voting for general election ends: Saturday, November 1
General Election Day: Tuesday, November 4
The News-Journal and the Raeford-Hoke Chamber of Commerce are sponsoring a political debate for candidates running contested races for office in Hoke County.
The debate, set for Thursday, April 3 at 7 p.m., will give voters the chance to see the candidates debate topics of local interest at the Senior Center in the Old Armory/McLauchlin Building on East Central Avenue in Raeford. The event will be free and open to the public.
The event will give the 12 candidates running for the county commission and the four candidates running for state Senate District 21 the chance to debate issues in front of a live audience. All other local and state races for Hoke are uncontested. Due to time constraints and the number of people seeking office, only candidates running in a contested race will take part in the debate portion of the evening, but candidates running unopposed are invited to informally meet and talk with voters before and after the debate.
The News-Journal wants to know what questions readers think the candidates should debate. Organizers will select several of the best questions to use in the debate. Questions should focus on topics of local importance and be addressed to either the county commission candidates or the state Senate District 21 candidates.
Send in your questions to News-Journal reporter Catharin Shepard at firstname.lastname@example.org, or bring a written question to The News-Journal office at 119 West Elwood Avenue in Raeford between the hours of 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Questions must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Monday, March 24.
Also, The News-Journal will provide real-time election results coverage May 6 beginning when polls close at 7:30 p.m. Results will be posted online on our website and will be reported for anyone who wishes to visit our office that night. We’re at 119 West Elwood Avenue, across from the Raeford Post Office.