Cayton to run for House

Published 12:39 am Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Beaufort County Commissioner Robert Cayton said he would give up running for his seat on the county board to run for a seat in the state House.

Cayton, a Democrat from Aurora, said he plans to seek his party’s nomination for House District 3.

The district seat is presently held by Rep. Norman Sanderson, R-Pamlico.

The district spans Pamlico County, northeast Craven County and most of southern Beaufort County, excluding the Gilead precinct that includes Cypress Landing and other residential communities.

Cayton will begin his ninth year on the county board March 1.

He was appointed to serve out the unexpired term of longtime Commissioner Frank Bonner, who died while in office.

Cayton was subsequently elected, in his own right, to two four-year terms. His current term expires this year.

He acknowledged his decision to pursue higher office, and surrender his board position, was a difficult one.

“Eastern North Carolina, and North Carolina, needs a strong voice,” he said.

Cayton is pastor of two churches in Pamlico County.

Asked how he’d balance his pastoral duties with those of the House job, if he won it, Cayton replied, “Both are 24 hours a day, so you do what you have to do each and every day.”

He declined to say how much money he’d have to raise as a House candidate, indicating that figure is unknown.

“Certainly, funds are going to have to be raised, but it’s important to bear in mind that the members of the General Assembly are not for sale,” he commented. “They  belong to the people, and the people will determine who will sit in those seats for two years at a time.”

Cayton’s wife is Debbie Cayton, a retired public librarian.

“Our life is a joint life where we both work real hard to get the jobs done,” he said. “We’re a team, and she’s always helped me, and I’ve always tried to help her.”

Cayton is in his 21st year on the Beaufort County Community College Board of Trustees.

He came out against a legislative mandate to increase ferry tolls and state budget cuts that have affected school systems. He advocated maintaining strong community college and transportation systems.

He offered no specific proposals.

“I wish him well,” said Surry Everett, chairman of the Beaufort County Democratic Party. “I think he stands a very good chance of winning.”

District 3 is “very winnable, particularly for Bob,” Everett continued.

“Bob’s been working down there for 30 years,” he said.