When the clock struck noon Monday, a line of would-be candidates ready to make official their intentions to seek public office in 2014 was already forming at the Craven County Board of Elections.
First in line was the longest serving member of the Craven County Board of Commissioners, District 6 Commissioner Lee K. Allen of Havelock, who was filing for his sixth term.
Allen coasted to victory unopposed in the last two elections, but before the day was out he was facing a primary challenge from current Havelock Commissioner George Liner, a Republican, and, if victorious, a November race against a Democrat. The lone Democrat to file is Allen’s neighbor and former Craven School Board member Arland Bell.
“I always try to file first,” said Allen. “I don’t want people to guess about whether I’m running. I’m dead serious, here I come. If you want me, come and get me.”
All seven county commissioner seats are up for election this year, and incumbent Democrat Theron McCabe filed to run in District 5, which includes eastern Craven County and parts of Havelock, including Tucker Creek. No one filed on Monday to oppose the two-term commissioner, but the filing period continues through noon on Feb. 28.
Another county office up for election is Craven County sheriff, and Fred “Chip” Hughes III of Trent Woods, a Republican, came with his wife, Heather, children and campaign supporters to file on Monday. Running on a platform of “more professional, transparent, and accountable local law enforcement,” Hughes filed his initial campaign organizational papers a year ago.
Two New Bern men filed to run for the N.C. House of Representatives District 3 seat. First-term incumbent Michael Speciale, a Republican, and local attorney Robert Elliott “Whit” Whitley Jr., a Democrat, filed for the seat to represent parts of Craven and Pamlico counties.
First-term incumbent N.C. District 12 Rep. George Graham. D-Lenoir, who represents part of Craven County, filed seeking a second term.
District Attorney Scott Thomas, a Democrat, filed Monday for another term serving District 3B, which covers Craven, Pamlico and Carteret counties.
Craven County Clerk of Superior Court Terry Sharpe also picked the first day to file for her first election to a four-year term at the job.
“I was lucky enough to inherit 26 months of the prior term of Jan Cahoon, who worked 36 years in the clerk’s office, 11 as clerk,” said Sharpe, formerly an attorney specializing in estate and guardianship law.
Democrat Marshall Richard Adame of Jacksonville was the only candidate of either party to file on the first day for the U.S. House of Representatives seat now held by Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-Farmville.
For more information on election filing, call the Craven County Board of Elections at 636-6610 or go online to www.cravencounty.com/departments/elc.cfm.
Sue Book is a reporter for the Sun Journal.