Keech runs for board

Published 12:32 am Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The first vice chairman of the Beaufort County Republican Party is running for county commissioner.

The party has a first vice chairman and a second vice chairman among its officers.

Tony Keech

Tony Keech will announce his candidacy Thursday during a Conservative Republican Club meeting at Mount Olive College off U.S. Highway 264 west of Washington.

“I think it’s the right time to run for commissioner because some things in the county are going good, but there’s a lot of things that can be changed and made better,” Keech told the Washington Daily News on Tuesday.

Keech is a probation and parole officer with the N.C. Division of Community Corrections.

He ran for county commissioner in 2010, losing his bid to advance to the general election as one of three Republican nominees for three seats then available on the county board.

He garnered 299 votes — 13.52 percent of total votes cast — in the GOP primary election on May 4, 2010, the State Board of Elections’ website shows.

In August 2010, Keech vied with other potential office-seekers to replace Cindy Baldwin, the third-place candidate in the primary who had opted to withdraw from the race. The executive committee of the Beaufort County Republican Party chose not to replace Baldwin on the ballot for the November 2010 general election.

Since then, Keech has been building contacts within the Republican community, sometimes attending GOP club meetings and political events. He said he’d been outspoken on how the county was being operated.

He said he hadn’t finished crafting a campaign platform or set issues on which he’d base his election effort, but planned to release more information after his announcement Thursday.

“I didn’t completely stop (running) from last time,” he said. “My support base has grown.”

Keech has two children, ages 1 and 3. He and his wife, Catherine, reside on River Road outside Washington.

Republican Commissioner Al Klemm is not up for re-election this year.

“I wish him all the luck in the world,” Klemm said of Keech. “If he works hard maybe he’ll get elected. We’ll just have to see what happens as the candidates come out and go forward.”

GOP Commissioner Hood Richardson is up for re-election in November.

“I’m always delighted to see Republican candidates volunteer to step up to the plate, especially conservative candidates,” Richardson said in reference to Keech. “I don’t know of any negative insofar as Tony Keech is concerned in his campaign.”

Four seats are up on the county board this year. Democrats Jerry Langley and Robert Cayton and Republicans Jay McRoy and Richardson hold those seats.