Alex Patton isnâ€™t ready to stop being a county commissioner yet.
The two-term Lincolnton Republican and chairman of the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners issued a statement Tuesday announcing that he expects to file for re-election later this month.
The move comes despite frequent public statements from Patton in recent years that he wouldnâ€™t run again.
But he told the Times-News on Tuesday that he believes the commissioners have a lot of unfinished business that he like to be part of.
â€œThereâ€™s been too much hard work by a lot of people to move backwards,â€ he said.
In his statement, Patton talked about his specific goals.
â€œWe must provide more space for the court system in Lincolnton,â€ he wrote. â€œThe most cost-effective way to do that is to convert the old hospital to county offices and then convert the Citizens Center to additional court space with the exception of the auditorium.
â€œWe must continue to find ways to bring jobs to Lincoln County. LEDA does an excellent job of recruiting industry from around the world but we must continue to support that and finds ways to be more competitive in our recruiting. We must continue to protect our citizens from needless and burdensome regulations while understanding our county is not a one-size-fits-all county.â€
Patton also expressed concern about what he described as misplaced criticism.
â€œI would encourage anyone to go through our budget online in detail and find the waste that some claim,â€ he wrote. â€œIt is just not there. We are fortunate to have a County Manager with the knowledge to continually bring us ideas to save money. His fiscal leadership has saved us an amazing amount of money.â€
Patton is one of three sitting commissioners who seats will be on the ballot this year. The others are fellow Republicans George Arena of Denver and Carrol Mitchem of Vale. Itâ€™s known whether either of them will file to defend their seats, but Arena, like Patton, has previously made statements indicating that heâ€™s not likely to run again.
Speak with the Times-News, Patton conceded that his decision resulted from a change of heart as he thought about what it means to be a county commissioner.
â€œFor some weird reason,â€ he said, â€œI enjoy it.â€
Lincoln County is governed by a board of five commissioners, currently all Republicans. There are no districts, so all candidates running in a given year compete together. This year voters in each primary will be able to pick up to three people theyâ€™d like to see elected, with the top three winning and advancing to a faceoff between the party nominees in November.
If recent trends hold, the county may see a large number of candidates in the Republican primary in May, with no one claiming an outright victory and the top vote-getters competing in a June run-off.
Recent Democratic primaries have been less competitive, but with local Democrats fired up over the presidential and gubernatorial races, and the national convention in Charlotte in September, itâ€™s possible Lincoln County Democrats will field more candidates.
Filing for county commission seats and other partisan local and state offices opens at noon on Monday.