and SARAH LOWERY
A flurry of last-second candidate filing activity Monday and Tuesday significantly increased the number of area office-seekers.
Among those throwing their hats in the ring for the 2012 election year are a Denver candidate for governor and two additional candidates for county commissioner.
The window for candidates to file closes at noon today. A complete list of candidates is planned for Fridayâ€™s edition of the Times-News. The exception is filing for four Board of Education seats, which will take place this summer.
Jim Mahan of Denver has joined the list of Republican candidates for governor. Mahan is founder of American Group, which markets waterfront real estate around Lake Norman. Heâ€™s also the author ofÂ self-published childrenâ€™s books.
Asked by the Times-News about his age on Tuesday, Mahan declined to answer but promised that heâ€™s “old enough to be governor.”
Unusually for a governor candidate, Mahan has not been active in Lincoln County elections for several years, despite being registered to vote here continuously since 1988. That may be because he was also registered in Mecklenburg County and participated in several elections there, including as recently at November 2011.
State Board of Elections Deputy Director Johnnie McLean told the Times-News on Tuesday that it doesnâ€™tÂ appear Mahan intentionally did anything inappropriate. He registered under a slightly different version of his own name in Mecklenburg County a few years ago and the name discrepancy prevented him from being purged from voter rolls in Lincoln County.
He re-filed to vote in Lincoln County on Feb. 23, McLean said, even though he was technically already registered here. At that time the state system noticed the name issue and removed his Mecklenburg registration.
Mahan told the Times-News that he knows he doesnâ€™t have the financial backing of some other candidates in the race, but has a strategy of using online resources to let voters know about himself. Asked for more details, Mahan indicated he didnâ€™t want to reveal his secrets to Patrick McCrory, the former Charlotte mayor who is also seeking the Republican nomination for governor.
A Gaston County man active in area Tea Party activities has filed to run for U.S. House of Representatives, North Carolina District 10. Don Peterson of Cramerton, who boasts of his New York origins on his Facebook page, becomes the third Republican to file, joining incumbentÂ U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry of Cherryville and independent journalist Ken Fortenberry of Denver.
Cramerton did not immediately respond to a Times-News request for more information about himself.
Asheville-area media reported Tuesday that Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy, a Democrat, was saying she had filed her paperwork to also seek the seat, but North Carolina Board of Elections lists did not yet include her among filed candidates as of the end of the day on Tuesday.
Two additional candidates have filed as Republicans for Lincoln County commissioner, while no one from the Democratic Party has decided to test the political waters this year so far.
Mike Davis of Crouse filed to run the week. He has been an outspoken critic of county tax policy since last yearâ€™s early property revaluation, which dramatically increased the tax burden on the western portion of the county.
Also filing was Larry Turbyfill of Denver, who has called for stricter compliance with federal and state water safety rules to prevent home and business systems from contaminating the public water supply.
The two filings bring the number of Republican commissioner candidates to six vying for three seats. All will run at large in the May 8 primary. If three clear-cut winners donâ€™t emerge, the race could be headed for a runoff the following month.