Off and running: filing period opens

Published 12:13 am Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bill Sprenkle, a candidate for Beaufort County Board of Education in District 7, is the first person to sign paperwork making his candidacy official Monday afternoon at the Board of Elections’ offices in Washington. (WDN Photo/Jonathan Clayborne)

Evans switches from House to Senate

Nine Beaufort County candidates signed paperwork making their candidacies official Monday afternoon, the first day of the filing period for North Carolina offices.

The filing period began at noon Monday and will end at noon Feb. 29.

The first local office-seeker to make his candidacy official was Bill Sprenkle, a candidate for Beaufort County Board of Education in District 7.

Other candidates to sign up included Eltha Booth, the District 1 school-board member from Washington; Aurora’s Robert Cayton, a Democratic county commissioner who’s running for state House in District 3; Washington’s Jerry Evans, a Republican vying for his party’s nod in state Senate District 1; Hood Richardson, a GOP, incumbent county commissioner from Washington; Proctor Kidwell, a Washington resident who’s going for the school board slot in District 5; Chocowinity’s Wayne Langston, a Republican working for his party’s nomination in House District 3; and Washingtonian Jennifer Leggett-Whitehurst, the county’s register of deeds.

Cayton attracted perhaps a dozen supporters to the elections board’s main office, where he gave a few remarks — evidently the only candidate to hold a rally here on the opening day of filing.

“Our desire is to represent the district and all of eastern North Carolina, and North Carolina, with strength,” he said.

Among the Cayton supporters on hand were Surry Everett, chairman of the Beaufort County Democratic Party, and Chocowinity Mayor Jimmy Mobley.

Cayton is surrendering his seat on the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners to try for a win in House District 3. The district takes in most of Beaufort County south of the Pamlico River, parts of the city of Washington, a portion of Craven County and all of Pamlico County.

On the Republican side, Langston and Craven County resident Michael Speciale will go head to head in the May Republican primary in District 3. The winner may face Cayton in November’s general election.

Evans’ appearance at the elections offices followed his announcement that he would vie for the GOP’s 1st District Senate nomination, rather than run for state House in District 6, as he’d announced previously.

District 1 encompasses Hyde, Dare, Gates, Camden, Currituck, Beaufort, Perquimans and Pasquotank counties.

Evans said he’d been contacted by senators in Raleigh — he declined to give their names — and local business leaders about switching his attention to a Senate effort.

“They’ve been very kind and sent me a lot of information,” he said of the senators.

A bid for the Senate job could put Evans in opposition to state Rep. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, in the primary. Cook has declined to seek re-election to the House, opting to make a play for the Senate slot currently held by Sen. Stan White, D-Dare.

“I don’t have any problems with Bill,” said Evans, who concluded a place in the Senate would better position him to do the broad-based economic-development work he has in mind.

A call to Cook wasn’t immediately returned Monday afternoon.

Also filing Monday was Paul Tine, a Dare County Democrat running in House District 6, which includes Dare, Hyde and Washington counties plus most of Beaufort County north of the Pamlico River. Tine filed at the Dare County Board of Elections.

For more on filing, see future editions of the Daily News.