By CHERRIECE WRIGHT and WILLIAM KEESLER
The 2002 election season officially kicked off Monday as the Davidson County Board of Elections opened at noon for candidates to file to run for office. The filing period ends March 1.
Sixteen candidates filed — for the state House, the state Senate, county commissioner, register of deeds, clerk of court, and six candidates for Davidson County sheriff.
Republican candidate for sheriff Boyd Wayne Littleton, 54, was the first candidate to file for any of the offices. Littleton said he wasn’t sure when the filing officially opened and arrived at the elections office about 11 a.m.
“I wanted to be first and I ended up being here an hour early,” Littleton said. Both he and his wife, Kathy, said they have already kicked off Littleton’s campaign by visiting different parts of the county handing out fliers, putting up yard signs and passing out a few business cards.
“We’re running it to win it,” he said, echoing sentiments from other candidates
Also filing for sheriff were Democratic candidates Terry Atkins, 54, Roy Holman, 60, and Freddie Huff, 54, who handed out copies of what he is calling his “contract” with residents of the county, which states objectives he hopes to achieve as sheriff.
Toby Coppley, campaign manager for Huff, said Huff wants to “bring back a high standard for the sheriff’s department.”
“We just want to make sure that some of the incidents that have happened over the past few years don’t happen again,” Coppley said.
Other Republican candidates for sheriff are Charles A. “Charlie” Hayworth, 60, of Curry Road, Kernersville, and Doug Norman.
Norman, 51, of Old Highway 64 West is a concrete contractor from Reeds who denounced the county commissioners last year after they denied a request by his elderly mother-in-law and father-in-law to put a mobile home on their property in central Davidson. Norman also publicly opposed the extension of zoning to the southern half of the county in 1990.
Norman has a son, Michael Norman, who works as a deputy for the sheriff’s office.
Asked why so many candidates are filing for sheriff, Norman said, “I think everybody’s wanting a change.”
Law enforcement issues were also a motivation for one of five candidates filing for county commissioner. Thomas Lashon, 56, a disabled millwright from Southmont, appeared in a national television news magazine profile of Hege a couple of years ago. He contends that deputies dragged him out of his home without cause one night and that authorities have refused to investigate.
Lashon was one of two Democrats filing Monday and this morning to run for the board of commissioners, which is currently all-Republican. The second Democrat was Charles W. Mode, 61, a land-grading business owner from Arcadia who has never run for public office.
Three Republicans filed for commissioner. They are two-term incumbent Fred McClure, 60, an insurance agency owner who lives on City Lake Road north of Lexington; Sam Watford, 49, a paving and utility contractor from east Davidson who serves on the county planning board; and Paul Housand, 36, a lumber company production and shipping coordinator and recent member of the county GOP Executive Committee from Pilot.
Watford said he is seeking the office because it involves managing people, growth and money, all areas in which he has experience. He said he would like to see forward strides made in education and said he is optimistic about the county’s economic future.
Watford said he wanted residents to know he was serious about his candidacy and hopes it will show through to residents during the campaign season.
“I bought a new pair of boots for some serious politicking,” Watford said, joking.
McClure, who cited education and senior citizen issues as two main areas for the county to focus on, said he is also confident about seeking his third term for office.
“If people will look at the record of my accomplishments and the things that I have been able to do,” he said, “I will be successful in seeking this term.”
Four of seven seats on the board of commissioners are up for election this year. Board Chairman Larry Potts has said he does not intend to seek re-election.
Other candidates declaring their intentions included former District Attorney Gene Morris of Lexington, who filed for the Superior Court judgeship long held by Preston Cornelius of Statesville. Gov. Mike Easley appointed Chris Collier, a former assistant district attorney from Statesville, to fill the judgeship after Cornelius retired last year.
Morris, a longtime assistant district attorney in this judicial district, served as district attorney from 1994-98 but lost a re-election bid to current DA Garry Frank. Since then Morris has commuted to work as an assistant district attorney in Alamance County.
Incumbent Clerk of Superior Criminal Court Brian L. Shipwash, 30, of West Center Street Extension, was the sole candidate to file for his office Monday as was incumbent Register of Deeds Ronald W. Callicutt, 61, of Trenton Lane, Thomasville.
Also filing Monday were District 38 Republican state Senate incumbent Stan Bingham, 56, of Highway 47, and District 68 Republican state Representative incumbent Jerry C. Dockham, 51, of Old Camp Road.
Cherriece Wright can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 235, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. William Keesler can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 221, or at email@example.com.