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Article 58
Published: Friday, February 26, 2010 at 11:47 a.m.

Primary filing closes

At exactly noon Friday, Ruth Huneycutt, director of the Davidson County Board of Elections, officially closed partisan filing for the May 4 primary elections.

A total of 32 candidates came through Huneycutt’s office over the past three weeks. Twenty-four were Republicans, eight Democrats, with 16 eyeing seats on the Davidson County Board of Commissioners, five running for sheriff and three entering the race for Davidson County Register of Deeds.


Incumbent Sam Watford, of 4111 Denton Road in Thomasville, was among many Republicans to file for Davidson County Board of Commissioners. Watford said if elected to a third term, he will continue to support businesses of all sizes and types in the county to help recoup some lost jobs.

“I’m an incumbent county commissioner, and I’ll campaign and serve just how I have in the past, on my business knowledge and civic service,” Watford said. “Others will hold those in office accountable. We’ll either stand on our accomplishment, or we’ll fall on our shortcomings.”


Watford said the county has traditionally offered incentives to manufacturers considering Davidson County for a new location. But the manufacturing jobs lost by the area are not returning, and new industry is becoming more rare. Incentives are not always enough to win over prospective businesses, and there is only so much the county can reasonably offer.

“We need to work on more commercial development and anything else to grow our tax base and keep our jobs,” Watford said. “I want to extend sewer to places, as long as we can afford it, for the chance to get some good commercial development. There’s no reason why the intersection of I-85 and Highway 64 can’t look just like the intersection at Concord Mills.”


Dick Johnson, of 214 Forest Park Drive in Denton, filed to challenge fellow Republican and incumbent Jerry Dockham for N.C. House District 80 seat. Johnson, a real estate agent with Center Towne Realtors in Lexington, said this is his first foray into politics, though he has considered running before.

Johnson said his philosophy and ideals about government are very similar to Dockham’s but that he would provide a fresh approach to representing the district in the state government. Several friends, acquaintances and community contacts encouraged Johnson to run for the office, which he said sparked his initial interest


“The feeling I got from the people approaching me was that he’s never had any opposition,” Johnson said. “Since he ran and won, he’s never faced opposition, and I think some people would simply like a choice.”

Johnson’s first brush with the General Assembly was several years ago while working for Ford Motor Co.


When state representatives were faced with an issue about the motor industry, they referred to one representative who used to be a car dealer years before. He said that one representative’s recommendation based on outdated experience was followed by the rest concerning an issue that needed examination in the context of current conditions.


“I’ve been out of the car business for now over five years, and if I went back into it today, I’d have to study it for a while because it’s constantly changing just like everything else,” he said. “I think every issue needs more than a fast opinion.”


Some of Johnson’s goals if elected are being more available to constituents and more careful consideration of state issues.


Democrat Kevin Williams, of 191 Madelyn Drive, filed to run for county commissioner. Republican Michael Horne, of 211 Rumfelt Drive, filed for register of deeds. Neither returned phone calls Friday afternoon.

Incumbent Garry Frank, 392 JL Temple Road, filed for the Republican nomination for District Attorney District 22B.


Several candidates seek nominations of both parties for four seats on the Davidson County Board of Commissioners. Incumbents Watford, Don Truell and Billy Joe Kepley are joined by fellow Republicans Eric Osborne, Owen Moore, Eddie Gallimore, Kenneth Cavender, Dwight Dawes, Joseph Byerly, Larry Allen and Todd Yates. Williams, Ronald Swicegood, Jeff Switzer, Phil Olshinshki and Jason Hedrick will face off for the Democratic nomination.


Tommy Evans Jr. was the lone Democrat to file for Davidson County sheriff. In November, he will face one of the four Republicans heading to the May primaries. Incumbent David Grice, former sheriff Gerald Hege, Terry Price and Edgar Shuler will all appear on the Republican ticket.


Incumbent Davidson County Register of Deeds David Rickard is challenged by Horne for the Republican nomination. The winner will face Democrat Gary Bowers in November.


Republican Brian Shipwash will run unopposed to retain his office of Clerk of Superior Court.

Similarly, incumbent Stan Bingham is unopposed for the Republican nomination for N.C. Senate District 33, and incumbent Republican Larry Brown was the only candidate to file for N.C. House District 73.


Republicans Fred McClure and Rayne Brown both filed for N.C. House District 81. The winner will face incumbent Democrat Hugh Holliman this fall.


District Court judges Mary Fowler Covington, Wayne Michael, Jimmy Laird Myers, Rod Penry, Carlton Terry and April Wood run unopposed for their seats in N.C. Judicial District 22B.


In national races, Lexington Democrat Cal Cunningham faces five others who filed for the U.S. Senate seat held by Sen. Richard Burr. Burr faces three challengers for the Republican nomination. The winners go on to November elections facing Libertarian candidate Michael Beitler of Oak Ridge.


Superior Court Judge Mark Klass of Lexington is one of three people seeking a seat on the N.C. Court of Appeals.


Rep. Howard Coble filed to retain his position in the U.S. House District 6 against Republican challengers Billy Yow, James Taylor, Jeff Phillips, Jon Mangin and Cathy Brewer Hinson. Democrat Sam Turner awaits the winner in November.


Incumbent Democrat Rep. Mel Watt and Libertarian Lon Cecil await to see which Republican, William “Doc” Gillenwater, Greg Dority or Scott Cumbee, will be on the ballot in November for the U.S. House District 12.


Heather J. Smith can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 228 or at heatherj.smith@the-dispatch.com.

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