The last few hours of election filing today in Forsyth County saw a trickle of candidates, mainly Democrats motivated by a sense that Republicans should not go unchallenged in districts that give the GOP a significant advantage in voter registration.
Gail G. McNeill, a Winston-Salem grandmother and former college teacher, said she is running for Forsyth County Commission in District B because she wants to ensure that public schools are adequately funded. She is also concerned about public safety and healthcare.
“We do not need to have guns in the parks,” she said today. “The priorities are wrong. We need to have the best education system in the world.”
The county commission voted on Monday to allow firearms in county parks in split decision that saw Republican District B Commissioner Dave Plyler cross party lines to join District A Democrats Walter Marshall and Everette Witherspoon in opposition. The board’s Republican majority — including at-large Commissioner Bill Whiteheart, along with District B commissioners Richard Linville, Debra Conrad and Gloria Whisenhunt — managed to hold the line in the 4-3 decision.
“Nobody else is telling our side of the story,” McNeill said, who is making her first run for elective office. “I’m not doing this because I want it for myself. The only reason I’m running is for my granddaughter.”
McNeill came to the board of elections this morning with Delmas Parker, a Clemmons Democrat who filed for the NC Senate District 31 seat held by Republican Brunstetter, a powerful lawmaker who co-chairs the Appropriations Committee. Brunstetter typically runs unopposed.
“As an educator, I taught public school for 32 years,” Parker said. “I have a real concern about financing for education. The budget for our universities has been decimated. The Governor’s School’s [budget has been cut. The economy of the future is based on our support for education today. Cutting funding for these things damages our future.”
Otho “Bud” McManus said appeared at the board of elections but ultimately did not file. He said he was concerned when he read in the newspaper this morning that no Democrats or African Americans had filed in county commission District B. He had planned to file, but was deterred when he found out the filing fee was almost $200.
Republican Kris McCann filed for the NC House District 71 seat that is being vacated by Rep. Larry Womble. McCann is the only Republican in the race for the Democratic-leaning district in northeast Winston-Salem. A primary contest between Evelyn Terry and Everette Witherspoon will determine who receives the Democratic nomination.
Myra Slone of Kernersville is the only Democrat to file for the newly created NC Senate District 27. The serpentine, rural and suburban district has four Republican contenders, including Greensboro City Councilwoman Trudy Wade, High Point City Councilman Latimer B. Alexander IV and Libby Hill Seafood owner Justin C. Conrad.
Democratic incumbent Pricey Harrison will face a Republican challenge from Chris Phillips in House District 57, an urban Greensboro district that leans heavily Democratic. Phillips lost a bid for Greensboro mayor last year.
In House District 58, another urban Greensboro district, Democratic incumbent Alma Adams will face Republican Olga Morgan Wright in the general election. Wright ran unsuccessfully against Adams in the district in 2006 and 2008.
A third Republican, Timothy Cook, of Brown Summit, joined the race for the new House District 59 in Guilford County, along with Jon Hardister and Sharon Kasica. The Republican tilt in voter registration in the district apparently scared off would-be Democratic contenders.
Republican Scott A. Jones of Pleasant Garden filed for governor today. Jones ran for Guilford County sheriff in 2010, but lost in the Republican primary to incumbent BJ Barnes. Jones was facing a misdemeanor criminal charges for assaulting a Guilford County deputy and making a threatening phone call at the time of his of his candidacy, but was ultimately acquitted.
Republican John Faircloth will face Democrat Ron Weatherford in the House District 61 general election. Both candidates are from High Point.
A Democrat has also filed for the House District 62 seat in northwest Guilford, which leans heavily Republican. Gerald W. Meisner will face incumbent John Blust in the general election, along with Libertarian challenger John Wilsey.
Republican Jeff Phillips, a 2010 congressional candidate who is active with Conservatives for Guilford County, has filed for District 5 on the Guilford County Commission, creating a primary contest with fellow Republican Don Wendelken. The prevailing candidate will face Democrat Paul Gibson in the general election. Gibson currently serves at large on the county commission.
Pat Tillman of Greensboro joined four other candidates, including incumbent Sandra Alexander, in the race for one of the at-large seats on the Guilford County School Board. The May primary will winnow the field to two candidates going into the general election.
For a non-comprehensive guide to candidates that will appear on the ballot in Forsyth and Guilford counties, visit Triad Elections 2012 (link).