With new election districts for the first time in four decades, candidates have begun filing to run for the Lincoln County Board of Education.
Five candidates so far have filed to run, according the Lincoln County Board of Elections website, with the filing window remaining open through noon on July 2.
Up this year are seats in the new Districts 1, 3 and 4, plus an at-large seat.
Seeking the new District 1 seat is Nolan Nance, a Republican residing in the North Brook III precinct.
That district is also home to two current board members, Tommy Houser and Kelly Childers, both Democrats residing in the North Brook precinct, neither of whom has filed so far to seek re-election, though both were elected in 2008 to four-year terms that will end in November.
Houser was elected to the old North Brook Township seat and Childers was previously elected at large; both would be eligible to file either as District 1 or at-large candidates this year.
The new District 1, corresponding roughly to the western third of the county, is made up of the following precincts: North Brook, North Brook III, Daniels/Vale, Heavners and the western portion of Oak Grove.
Two candidates have filed to run so far for District 3, making it the only race that is already guaranteed to be contested in November.
Current board member Ed Hatley, a Democrat living in the Lincolnton-north precinct, has filed. He was elected in 2008 to the Lincolnton Township (inside city) seat and his term will end in November.
Competing with Hatley is Anita B. McCall, a Republican living in the Lincolnton-north precinct.
Also living in District 3 is current board member Candy Burgin, a Republican living in the Oak Grove precinct, who was elected in 2010 to represent the Lincolnton Township (outside city) seat for a term that will end in 2014.
Burgin could opt to seek re-election early to either the District 3 or at-large seat this year, or seek re-election to the at-large seat in two years when her current term is up. It’s not clear whether she would have to step down from her current seat to run this year or only if she won an early bid.
The new District 3, corresponding to the north-central portion of the county, is made up of the following precincts: Lincolnton-North, Boger City, Hickory Grove, Buffalo Shoals, Pumpkin Center and the eastern portion of Oak Grove.
Tony Jenkins, a Republican living in the Iron Station precinct, is seeking election to the District 4 seat.
The district is also home to current member George Dellinger, a Republican living in the Iron Station precinct who was elected to represent the Ironton Township seat in 2008 for a term that ends in November, but has so far not filed to seek re-election.
Dellinger would be eligible to file for the District 4 seat or an at-large seat.
District 4, corresponding to the southeastern portion of the county, is made up of the following precincts: Ore Bank, Iron Station, Iron Station-South, Lowesville, Lowesville-west and Cowan’s Ford.
Districts 2 and 5
The new District 2 and 5 will not put up candidates for school board until 2014.
Living in District 2 is current board member Clayton Mullis, a Republican residing in the Crouse precinct, who was elected in 2010 to represent the Howards Creek Township seat for a term that will end in 2014.
He would be eligible to run in 2014 for the District 2 seat or an at-large seat, or could opt to run this year for an at-large seat.
District 2, corresponding to the south-central portion of the county, includes the following precincts: Crouse, Love Memorial, Lincolnton-south, Long Shoals, Lithia, Salem and Asbury.
Living in District 5 is current board member Bob Silver, a Republican residing in the Westport precinct, who was elected in 2010 to represent the Catawba Springs Township seat for a term that will end in 2014.
He could run in 2014 for the District 5 or at-large seats, or opt to run this year for an at-large seat.
District 5, corresponding to the northeastern portion of the county, includes the following precincts: Denver, Denver-west, Westport, Triangle and Triangle-east.
Although party affiliations of school board candidates are public record and obviously influence voter decisions, officially these are nonpartisan seats and no party primaries are conducted.
A four-member majority of the seven-member board will be chosen this year with three other seats being elected in 2014.
The new board will have five members who must reside in population-based districts and two members elected at-large.
As with the existing board of six non-population-based district seats and one at-large seat, members of the new board will be chosen by all voters in the county.
This type of residential district arrangement can result in some unusual political situations, with a candidate being chosen from within one district but actually being elected by the voters in other districts.
For instance, competing candidates for District 1 might both live in the North Brook precinct, but the winner might prevail despite being unpopular in his own area, if the overall vote results in enough support from voters in populous areas, like Denver or Lincolnton.
The new election districts were approved late last year after more than a dozen different plans were considered. Legislators passed a measure forcing the board to create new districts following complaints that the old township-based seats resulted in too much representation for thinly populated areas, while areas with a great deal of recent growth were underrepresented.