Candidate filing period begins Friday in Beaufort County

Published 1:56 pm Thursday, July 6, 2017

Candidates for municipal offices in Beaufort County and elsewhere may start filing for those posts at noon Friday.

The filing period ends at noon July 21. The Beaufort County Board of Elections will conduct elections for the county’s seven municipalities — Aurora, Bath, Belhaven, Chocowinity, Pantego, Washington and Washington Park. Election Day is Nov. 7. The deadline to challenge a candidate seeking office is Aug. 4.

The early voting period for the Nov. 7 elections runs from Oct. 19 through Nov. 4. Only voters who live in the municipalities will vote in the Nov. 7 election. The specific dates, times and sites for early voting in Beaufort County will be announced later this year.

The municipality in which a candidate is seeking office sets filing fees for candidates. Currently, municipal elections are nonpartisan. That nonpartisan status affects write-in candidates.

In non-municipal partisan contests, a voter who wishes to run for office must follow a petition procedure to become qualified. There is no petition process to qualify as a write-in candidate for a nonpartisan election or a municipal election, whether partisan or nonpartisan. The option to write in a candidate is automatically included on the ballot for municipal contests.

The mayor’s seat and each of the five seats on the Washington City Council are available this election cycle. The mayor and council members serve two-year terms. Two years ago, the council debated going to four-year terms, but that proposal died. The terms of Mayor Mac Hodges and council members Doug Mercer, Richard Brooks, William Pitt, Virginia Finnerty and Larry Beeman expire this year.

In Aurora, voters will elect a mayor and two members of the four-member Board of Commissioners. The board seats held by Patricia Bragg and Raleigh B. Lee III and Mayor Clif Williams’ seat are up for election this year, according to the Board of Elections. Board members serve four-year, staggered terms.

Bath voters will elect two members of the four-member Board of Commissioners this year. The four-year terms of commissioners Patricia Duffer and Jay Hardin expire this year.

Belhaven voters will pick a mayor and two members of the five-member Board of Aldermen. Mayor Adam O’Neal’s two-year term expires this fall. The seats held by Yvonne DeRuiz, Greg Satterthwaite and Steve Carawan are available this election cycle. Carawan was appointed to fill the vacant seat on the board created when Dr. Charles O. Boyette died. Boyette’s term did not expire until 2019, but because Carawan was appointed to that seat and not elected, he is required to file for election if he wants to keep the seat until 2019, according to Anita Bullock Branch, deputy director of the Board of Elections.

Chocowinity voters will elect two members to the town’s four-member Board of Commissioners and a mayor. The four-year terms of Mayor Jimmy Mobley and commissioners Billy Albritton and Louise S. Furman expire in 2017.

Voters in Pantego will elect a mayor and five members for the town’s Board of Commissioners. The mayor and commissioners serve two-year terms. The terms of current mayor, Stuart Edward Ricks, and commissioners Mart Benson, Reid Michael Gelderman, Robert Lilley, Chad Keech and Charles “Chuck” Williams expire in the fall.

Each seat on the five-member Washington Park Board of Commissioners and the mayor’s seat are available this election cycle. The two-year terms of Mayor Tom Richter and board members Lee Bowen, Belinda Cowell, Wade Dale, Jeffrey A. Peacock and Patrick Nash end this year.

Successful candidates are sworn in at the first council or board meeting in December.


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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