A slew of candidates filed for office shortly before the deadline and the field for the 2018 Lincoln County primary elections is now set in stone.
Carrol Mitchem, a longtime Lincoln County commissioner, officially filed on Monday to campaign to become the new Lincoln County sheriff. Of the six candidates that filed, Mitchem is the only one without prior law enforcement experience.
Mitchem, a Lincoln County native and owner of Mitchem Farms and the Mitchem’s Kitchen restaurant in Vale, is currently serving his fourth term on the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners. If elected as sheriff, the Lincoln County Republican Party would need to appoint someone to finish his current term, which doesn’t expire until 2020.
Anthony Huss, a graduate of West Lincoln High School and a Navy veteran, filed on Wednesday to become the sixth and final Republican candidate for the office. Huss ran for sheriff in 2014 as a write-in candidate and was defeated by current Lincoln County Sheriff David Carpenter, who plans to retire at the end of the year when his term expires.
Mitchem and Huss will join county commission chairman and former Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Bill Beam, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Tim Johnson, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Jon Propst and former Lincolnton Police Department Lt. Jason Munday on the ballot for May’s Republican primary election. The Lincoln County Democratic Party will not field a candidate for the race, while Lincolnton street preacher and Marine Corps veteran Alan Hoyle plans to run as an independent candidate, pending a petition with signatures from 4 percent of the registered voters in Lincoln County.
A Democrat filed on Monday to campaign to represent state Senate District 31, which includes Lincoln County in addition to Cleveland County and a small portion of Gaston County, in the North Carolina General Assembly. David Lattimore of Shelby became the first and only Democrat to file for the seat.
Incumbent state Sen. David Curtis, a Denver Republican, is seeking re-election to his fourth term in the state Senate. Curtis will have to overcome Lincoln County Commissioner Martin Oakes and former Shelby Mayor Ted Alexander in May’s Republican primary election before worrying about Lattimore.
Nic Haag, a United States Marine Corps veteran, officially filed on Tuesday to challenge state Rep. Jason Saine for the Republican Party’s nomination to represent Lincoln County in the North Carolina General Assembly. In 2016, Haag ran as an independent candidate for Lincoln County’s seat in the state Senate, but was ultimately defeated by Curtis.
The victor in that primary will oppose Natalie Robertson, a Denver woman who filed on Wednesday, in November’s general election. Robertson is the lone Democrat to file for the seat.
Saine, a Lincolnton Republican, is seeking re-election to his fourth term in the state House after being appointed to fill the seat vacated by Johnathan Rhyne in 2011. Saine ran unopposed in both the primary and general elections in 2016.
Like the race for sheriff, the field campaigning for the two open seats on the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners is set with six Republican candidates and no Democrats. Theodore Huss, George Mull, Christine Poinsette, Milton Sigmon, Raye Watson-Smyth and Bud Cesena will vie for the two seats being vacated by Beam and Oakes.
Incumbent Lincolnton Mayor Ed Hatley, a Democrat, will run unopposed in his bid for re-election. Hatley will become the first to serve a four-year term in the mayor’s seat, which had been up for election every two years until now.
Two Lincoln County Democrats will compete for the party’s nomination to represent Ward 1 on the Lincolnton City Council. Former Lincolnton police officer Willie Vaughn will challenge Mary Frances White, the owner and operator of Ebony and White’s Funeral Services, in Lincoln County’s only Democratic primary election.
The winner of that primary showdown will campaign against Republican Paul Eurey, Jr. for the Ward 1 seat being vacated by Tim Smith, a Republican who was appointed to the seat last year when the late Devin Rhyne stepped down.
Dr. Jim Watson, a Democrat and the former superintendent of Lincoln County Schools, will campaign against Republican Fred Jarrett, the sitting chairman of the Lincolnton Downtown Steering Committee, to represent Ward 2 on the city council. The winner will only serve a two-year term, compared to four for the other city council seats up for election, after some reshuffling was done to move North Carolina municipal elections to even numbered years.
Incumbent Ward 3 City Councilman Dr. Martin Eaddy, a Democrat, will defend his seat against former Lincolnton police officer Derek Thom, a Republican.
Two more Republican candidates have filed to challenge incumbent Rep. Patrick McHenry for his seat representing North Carolina’s 10th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives.
Seth Blankenship, a western North Carolina native and current chief of staff at the D. James Kennedy Center for Christian Statesmanship in Washington D.C., filed to campaign for the seat on Monday. Dr. Albert Wiley Jr., who was defeated by McHenry in the 2016 Republican primary election, filed on Tuesday to join the race.
McHenry, who currently serves as the chief deputy whip in the House, is seeking re-election to his eighth term in Congress as District 10’s representative. He will face Blankenship, Wiley, Gina Collias, Jeff Gregory and Ira Roberts in May’s Republican primary election. The winner of that nomination will then face David Brown, the only Democrat to file for the seat, in November’s general election.
Lincoln County District Attorney Mike Miller, a Republican, will run unopposed in both the primary and general elections.
Incumbent Lincoln County Clerk of Superior Court Fred Hatley will face two challengers in May’s Republican primary election. Heather Hester Job, the daughter of Lincoln County Register of Deeds Danny Hester, and attorney Greg Smith will also seek the party’s nomination.
The winner of that primary will campaign against Gold Hill Missionary Baptist Church Bishop Franklin Lowery, a Democrat, in November’s general election.
Speaking of Hester, the incumbent Republican register of deeds will run against Lincoln County Republican Party chairman Brian Crisson for the party’s nomination. No Democrats filed to run for the register of deeds office.
The Lincoln County party primary elections are scheduled to take place on May 8, with the general election to follow on Nov. 6.