Office seekers share platforms at forum, one-stop voting begins Wednesday

Published 5:12 pm Tuesday, October 16, 2018

A well-attended candidate forum on Monday offered candidates for local, regional and state offices an opportunity to share their platforms with potential voters on Monday. Individuals seeking the offices of N.C. House and Senate, District Court Judge, Beaufort County Sheriff and Beaufort County Board of Commissioners were invited to participate.

Sponsored by The Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals and the Washington Daily News, the forum was moderated by Beaufort County Board of Elections Director Kellie Hopkins.

A video of the forum will be made available on City Channel 9, the Washington Daily News Website and the “Beaufort County NC Government” Youtube channel. WATCH: Beaufort County Candidate Forum 2018.

All candidates for each office, with the exception of Beaufort County Sheriff Ernie Coleman, attended the forum. Each candidate was afforded two minutes to provide an opening statement, in addition to two minutes each to answer the following office-specific questions.

District Court Judge candidates Darrell Cayton and Sarah Homes were asked on their qualifications, as well as how they would balance being an elected official with being an independent judge.

Questions from N.C. House and Senate candidates were identical. House candidates Keith Kidwell and Jerry Langley and Senate Candidates Erica Smith and Chuck Earley were each asked what is the most important issue they would address, as well as whether education is overfunded or underfunded in the state.

Tony Keech and Al Whitney, both candidates for Beaufort County Sheriff, were asked for their perceptions on the greatest public safety threat faced in Beaufort County, as well as how they would approach community relations.

The Beaufort County Board of Commissioners portion of the program saw five candidates on stage — Tandy Dunn, Stan Deatherage, Randy Walker, Frankie Waters and Ed Booth. Each candidate was asked for their opinions on taxation and their perceptions of public education in Beaufort County.


While the candidates themselves were the stars of the show, Hopkins took the opportunity to share a few pieces of information that voters may find helpful:

  • Early voting begins today at four locations throughout Beaufort County — the Beaufort County Board of Elections at 1308 Highland Drive, Suite 104, Washington, the Aurora Community Building at 442 Third Street, Aurora, the John A. Wilkinson Center at 144 West Main Street, Belhaven, and the Chocowinity Fire Department at 512 N.C. Highway 33 East, Chocowinity.
  • One-stop voting allows those who have not yet registered to register and vote on the same day, provided they present a North Carolina driver’s license, a photo ID from a government agency or a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document.
  • One-stop voting hours will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, from today through Nov. 2. On Nov. 3, the last day of one-stop voting, hours will be from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at each location.
  • Absentee ballots are available through Oct. 30. These ballots are available on request and must be postmarked by Nov. 6 to be counted.
  • Polling places throughout Beaufort County will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6.

For more election-related information, including candidate statements for each office, see the special Election Guide section in today’s edition.