Candidate drops from Washington City Council race, may still appear on ballot

Published 7:39 pm Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Then there were 10.

The field of candidates in the Washington City Council race shrunk slightly on Tuesday, as candidate Laurence Doby announced he will no longer seek a seat on the council. Doby confirmed Tuesday that he will be moving to a residence outside the city limits next week, which would make him ineligible to serve on the city council.

“I’ll pretty much just have to recuse myself,” Doby said.

Doby serves as the operations manager for Metropolitan Community Health Services. He plans to announce support for another council candidate on social media.

At the Beaufort County Board of Elections, the information on Doby’s residence change came as the board was in the process of proofing ballots for the November municipal elections.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Beaufort County Board of Elections Director Kellie Hopkins said the local board is waiting for guidance from the state Board of Elections on how to proceed. The deadline to officially withdraw from the race was during the filing period, so Doby’s name may still appear on the ballot.

“I know for any other reason, you cannot withdraw,” Hopkins said. “That deadline was two or three days before filing ended. But if he becomes ineligible, I’m not quite sure what happens.”

It’s not the first time in recent memory that a Beaufort County candidate has publicly announced plans not to seek office after the deadline to withdraw. Last year, Republican N.C. House of Representatives candidate Jim Chesnutt terminated his campaign two months before the May 8 primary.

Although Chesnutt made public announcements ending his campaign, it was too late to have his name removed from the ballot. During the May 8 primary, he still accumulated 21.9% of the vote in the 79th House District, despite not actively campaigning.