By Luke Weir
UPDATE: As of Friday, Feb. 16 at 3 p.m., additional candidates filed for election over the past week. Steve Combs of Sugar Grove filed for Board of Education. Tim Hodges of Vilas filed as a republican for the Watauga County Board of Commissioners district 3 against incumbent vice-chairman Billy Kennedy. Also, Brandon Anderson filed for North Carolina State Senate’s 45th district, making his name the first on the ballot for the seat.
Local government hopefuls lined up outside the Watauga County Board of Elections to file as candidates in the 2018 North Carolina state and local elections Monday at noon.
Filing began Monday for the following offices: three positions on the board of commissioners, three positions on the board of education, clerk of superior court, district attorney, and sheriff.
After the first day of filing, 14 candidates have signed up to run for public office in 2018, as follows:
Incumbent Sheriff Len Hagaman filed for re-election as the democrat’s candidate against republicans Timothy Holman and David Searcy.
Current Watauga County Clerk of Superior Court Diane Deal is running for re-election as a democrat against republican Travis Critcher.
Jason Cornett, Gary Childers and Jay Fenwick are running for re-election to the Watauga County Board of Education.
For the Watauga County Board of Commissioners, Billy Kennedy, current vice-chairman, filed for re-election representing district 3 as a democrat. Tommy Sofield, a republican, is running for the board of commissioners as representative for district 5.
The race for board of commissioners’ district 4 is already contested, with incumbent Larry Turnbow filing for re-election on the democrats’ side. David Blust will be running against Turnbow as a republican.
Additionally, Deanna Ballard filed for re-election as a republican for the 45th district of North Carolina’s State Senate. Ray Russell filed with the democrats for North Carolina House of Representatives, district 93.
Filing is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until February 28 at noon. Those wishing to run for office are required to submit a notice of candidacy and felony disclosure form to the Watauga County Board of Elections office inside the courthouse.
Filing fees cost 1 percent of the position’s annual salary, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Primary voting day is May 8, with early voting from April 19 to May 5. Register by April 13 to vote in the primaries.
Once the primaries are decided, Nov. 6 from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. is general election day, with early voting from Oct. 18 to Nov. 3, and a voter registration deadline of Oct. 12.
Stay tuned to High Country Press for a final list of candidates once the filing period is over.