Filing period starts Monday

Published 9:04 pm Saturday, February 6, 2010

Staff Writer

The year’s first big election milestone comes at noon Monday with the start of the filing period for all elected offices in the state.
The filing period ends at noon Feb. 26.
Candidates are required to fill out filing papers and pay a fee equal to 1 percent of the annual salary of the job they’re fighting for, related Kellie Hopkins, Beaufort County’s elections director.
While seekers of state House and Senate offices file in their home counties, judicial and congressional candidates submit their paperwork to the State Board of Elections in Raleigh, Hopkins said.
Prodded to offer a prediction about the level of interest in this year’s midterm races, Hopkins remarked, “I think we’ll have a higher turnout than most off-year general elections, but do not expect the flood we had in 2008.”
Though there will be no gubernatorial or presidential contests on the ballot, a number of high-profile races promise to generate significant voter response.
U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., is seeking re-election. His possible challengers include three Democrats: N.C. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, former state Sen. Cal Cunningham and attorney Ken Lewis.
A Rasmussen poll released Jan. 29 had Burr leading Marshall and Cunningham. The incumbent’s “numbers continue to display potential weakness,” reads a Rasmussen news release.
The pollsters had Burr ahead of Marshall in a hypothetical matchup, with Burr leading 47 percent to Marshall’s 37 percent.
But the polling indicated that Burr’s numbers were still below an important 50-percent threshold for comfort.
“I think that the closer you get to any election the more people pay attention and are willing to pay attention one way or the other,” Burr told the Washington Daily News recently. “I’m certainly not concerned, but, at the end of the day, the outcome of the election’s not going to be determined by what polls say, it’s going to be determined by how people vote.”
Also up for re-election this year are U.S. Reps. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., of Wilson and Walter B. Jones Jr., R-N.C., of Farmville.
Both men serve districts that divide Beaufort County along the Pamlico River.
Butterfield’s announced opponent is Washington Republican Ashley Woolard, while Jones could face down Winterville resident Johnny Rouse, former chairman of the Pitt County Democratic Party.
State Sen. Marc Basnight, D-Dare, is up this year. It’s unclear whether a GOP Senate hopeful will come forward to take on the Manteo senator.
State Rep. Arthur Williams, D-Beaufort, of Washington, has an announced challenger in Cypress Landing Republican Bill Cook.
Other local races of note include the sprint to replace retiring District Court Judge Sam Grimes of Washington.
Two Washington attorneys, Watsi Sutton and Sonia Privette, have aired their intentions to file for the seat. As of Friday, other names had been floated as well, though no solid announcements had been made by the afternoon.
Superior Court Judge Wayland Sermons also must launch a re-election bid. It was unclear who, if anyone, might take on Sermons, though the rumor mill has been active of late.
Also going before voters this year are District Attorney Seth Edwards, Clerk of Superior Court Marty Paramore, and four members of the Beaufort County Board of Education.
Three county commissioners’ seats are up; those held by Democrat Ed Booth and Republicans Al Klemm and Stan Deatherage.
Bertie Arnhols of Aurora is collecting signatures to run as an unaffiliated commissioner candidate.
Beaufort County Sheriff Alan Jordan, a Democrat, also has an announced opponent in private investigator Donald Dixon, a Washington Republican.