Filing closes; primaries set in select races
Published: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:44 p.m.
Filing for local and state offices ended Wednesday but not before an eventful morning that saw six new filings in Davidson County in three separate races.
Davidson County Board of Commissioners' chairman Sam Watford will make a run for North Carolina Senate, challenging incumbent state Sen. Stan Bingham, R-Davidson, and Republican Eddie Gallimore for the 33rd District seat.
Watford kept his intentions to run for state office under tight wraps. He was the last candidate to file, making his candidacy official before the noon deadline. Watford said he mulled his decision for a few weeks, talking about it with close friends and family but didn't make a final decision until Wednesday morning.
"I kind of waited to see who did file and how things looked." Watford said.
Watford is in his third term as a commissioner and second year as chairman. He said he would like to turn his attention to issues at the state level.
"State government has a big impact on this county and our lives daily," Watford said. "I've become familiar with that through the years, naturally."
No Democrats filed for the seat.
The last day of filing also brought the first and only Democratic candidate to file for county commissioner. Phil Olshinski, 59, of Thomasville, is guaranteed to be on the November general election ballot vying for one of the three open seats on the board. Olshinski ran in 2010 though he didn't make it through the Democratic primary, which had five candidates.
Olshinski said he hopes to bring an alternative view to the board.
"We need voices from everywhere," he said. "We need everyone involved, not just one political party involved. What's happened to our county is not a Republican problem, a Democratic problem or an independent problem."
Olshinski said he would like to see increased funding to schools and a continued focus on economic development in Davidson County.
A seventh Republican also filed for county commissioner Wednesday. Steven Franklin Shell, 61, of Lexington and owner of Shell Bonding Co., is running for public office for the first time.
Failed campaign promises and poor government spending motivated Shell to run, he said. He said government spending has become wasteful and that he's against county employee raises because it removes the incentive for production.
"There comes a time when government has to stop working off the absolute premise that government must maintain," he said.
In May, Republican voters will narrow the field from seven candidates to three who will move on to the general election. Along with Shell, candidates are incumbent commissioners Fred McClure and Larry Potts, Larry Allen, Don Dublin, Steve Jarvis and Leona Sink.
The other local Republican May primary election besides commissioner and N.C. Senate is the N.C. House District 80 race that pits incumbent Rep. Jerry Dockham, R-Davidson, against Dick Johnson and Christy Jones.
Democrat Loretta Martin, who is running for the N.C. House District 80 seat, is not facing opposition and will move to the November general election.
Local races not involved in primaries include Libertarian commissioner candidates David Speight and Lon Cecil, both of whom will move directly to the November general election, and the Handy Sanitary District Supervisor board, which includes incumbent Dan Caudle, Darcus Bisher, Tim Loflin and Irving Surratt — all except Caudle filed Wednesday. Voters will choose two candidates.
Incumbent N.C. House District 81 Rep. Rayne Brown, R-Davidson, will win re-election as she was the only candidate to file for the seat.
Congressional races are also set. In the 5th District, incumbent Virginia Foxx, R-5th, will face the winner of the Democratic primary between candidates Elizabeth Motsinger and Bruce Peeler.
In the 8th District, incumbent Larry Kissell, D-8th, will run in a primary against Democrat Marcus Williams. In the Republican primary, voters will choose from Richard Hudson, Scott Keadle, Vernon Robinson, state Rep. Fred Steen II, R-Rowan, and John Whitley.
In the 12th District, Mel Watt, D-12th, will be involved in a primary against Matthew Newton with the winner facing Republican Jack Brosch in the fall general election.
Primary elections will be held May 8. Polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
David Bodenheimer can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 227, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.