CROWDED | BOE, Commish races highlight political season
Filing for elected office ended Friday, and when the dust settled one thing was clear: Lee County voters will have their ballots full come May 6 and November 4.
The most crowded Board of Education and Board of Commissioner fields in recent memory will greet voters in the May primary and the general election in November. That’s a very good thing, and after years of having mostly uncontested races in Lee County, it says a lot about people getting engaged in the process.
Here’s the rundown on contested local races with candidates listed in alphabetical order…
Lee County Board of Education
Mark is pastor at True Bread Fellowship in Lemon Springs and owns M&C Laudromat on Tramway Road. He’s a first-time candidate. I haven’t met Mark but have heard good things about him from my buddy Corliss Udoema.
Kim works at Wyeth. Another first-time candidate, she’s the wife of WBF-TV46 general manager Mark Lilley.
Cameron is a former probation office making his first run for public office.
Dr. Lynn H. Smith
An orthodontist, Lynn was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Mary Ellen Axner. It’s his first time on a local ballot.
The BOE’s current chairman, Bill is retired from S. T. Wooten. He’s seeking his second term.
Shawn, the pastor of Fair Promise AME Zion Church on Wall Street, was appointed to fill unexpired term of John Quiggle, who filled the Amy Stevens/Kirk Smith seat on the Lee County Board of Commissioners and opted not to seek election to it. I had a delightful hour-long meeting with Shawn a couple of weeks ago.
The skinny: this non-partisan race will be decided in May. The top four vote-getters take seats. You essentially have only one incumbent (Tatum), but Smith and Williams have the benefit of sitting on the board now as it works to address a myriad of issues, including much-needed renovations at Lee County High School.
Lee County Board of Commissioners | At-Large
Bob’s the board’s current chairman. A Democrat, he filed late and is seeking his second term.
Wade, a long-time Lee County resident, is a retired airman. A Democrat, he’s seeking his first term to office.
Richard, a former Board of Education member, didn’t seek re-election to that body two years ago. A Democrat, he’s a retired college fund-raising consultant and is seeking his first term as commissioner.
Herb, the commission’s former chairman, didn’t seek re-election to the seat in 2006. A Republican, and wife of Helen Hincks, one of The Herald’s Lifetime Achievement Award winners this year, Herb has apparently found life on the sidelines not to his liking.
Andre has a chiropractic practice in Sanford and has been active in the local Repulican Party. He’s seeking office for the first time.
Retired from the emergency medical field, Jerry, a Democrat, has served several terms on the board. He’s one of the most visible of the county’s board members.
Larry “Doc” Oldham
A retired construction executive, Doc is a Republican seeking office for the first time.
Nathan “Ed” Paschal
Ed, Democrat who often votes with Republicans, is seeking his fourth term on the board.
The skinny: the top three vote-getters in each party’s May 6 primary will advance to the November ballot. From there, the top three will take four-year seats. It’ll be the year’s most interesting race, with six men fighting for three seats. The winners join Democrats Robert Reives and Jamie Kelly and Republican Linda Shook on the board, along with the winner of the District 2 seat. If Shook wins her race against Jimmy Love Sr. for the N. C. House seat representing Lee County, it’s possible an evenly-split board (three Democrats, three Republicans) will have to fight out naming a replacement for Shook. Given the John Quiggle travesty, that’ll be as interesting a battle to watch as the election itself. Another interesting vote to watch will be for chairman: will it be Hincks, returning to the job he did so well for so long, or will the political novice Kelly cash in on the momentum he gained from the election last year and take over the board? Will Bob Brown retain the reigns, or will it be someone else entirely?
Lee County Board of Commissioners | District 2 Seat
Undy, a Republican, was nominated by the county’s Republican Party to fill the Amy Stevens/Kirk Smith seat, but the board instead chose John Quiggle…who decided after all that not to seek election to the seat. It’s Undy’s first time seeking office.
Amy, a Democrat, is the daughter-in-law of former BOE Chairman Bob Dalrymple and the wife of Soil & Water Conservation District representative Tommy Dalrymple. Amy has been heavily involved in Lee County Schools issues and is seeking office for the first time.
The skinny: this will be more than a Democrat-vs.-Republican race; it features two very good candidates who come from widely different backgrounds.
N. C. House of Representatives | District 51
Jimmy Love Sr.
Jimmy, the incumbent, served for more than a decade in the N. C. House in the 1960s and 1970s as a Democrat. He lost a Senate race a few years back, but won back the House seat – held by Republican John Sauls, who didn’t seek a third term – in 2006.
Linda, a Republican, is in the middle of a four-year term on the board of commissioners. She’ll retain that seat if she loses this House race, but says she’s seeking higher office because she thinks she can make more contributions on a state level.
The skinny: neither faces primary opposition, so the winner of the two-year seat will be decided in November. Love has name recognition and institutional memory, but Shook will have help from the state Republican Party, which has targeted this race as “winnable” for Shook.