2014 candidate filing begins
by Anna Oakes
Democrats seeking to oust local Republicans in the General Assembly and a GOP challenger opposing two-term Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman are among those seeking election in 2014.
The Watauga County Board of Elections office was packed at noon Monday, when the filing period for the 2014 elections officially began. The filing period closes at noon on Friday, Feb. 28. County, state legislative and some federal offices are up for election on November 4, with a primary election to be held May 6.
Watauga County Elections Director Jane Hodges reminded candidates filing Monday that there would be changes to voting in 2014, including a shortened early voting period and the elimination of same-day registration during the early voting period.
"You're going to have to educate," Hodges said.
Candidates filing for office must pay a filing fee, which is generally set at 1 percent of the annual salary for the elected office.
"I think we've got some great candidates who filed today. I think it's going to be a great election season," Hodges said.
Watauga County Board of Education (3 open seats)
Two people have filed for election to the Watauga County Board of Education, which will have three open seats -- those currently filled by Lee Warren, Delora Hodges and Ron Henries.
Filing were Tiffany Christian, an ASU professor and owner of Gigi's Uniforms and More in the Boone Mall, as well as Ronny Holste, psychology instructor at Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute.
Christian is registered unaffiliated and Holste is a registered Democrat, according to the State Board of Elections; however, school board races are nonpartisan.
Watauga County Board of Commissioners (3 open seats)
Elections for county commissioners are held by district, with the seats for District 5, 4 and 3 open in 2014.
Republican Allen Trivette and Democrat Barbara Kinsey both filed for election to the District 5 seat, currently held by Republican Nathan Miller. Miller has indicated he will run for district attorney.
Trivette is a former commissioner who was defeated in 2004 by Kinsey's late husband, Winston. Barbara Kinsey currently serves on the Watauga County school board, with a term expiring in December 2016.
Democrat Billy Kennedy and Republican David Blust filed for re-election to their District 3 and District 4 seats, respectively.
Watauga County Clerk of Superior Court
Diane Deal, a Democrat, filed for re-election to the clerk's office on Monday.
Watauga County Sheriff
Two-term Sheriff Len Hagaman, a Democrat, filed for re-election on Monday, as well as a challenger, Republican Randy Townsend, who has served as a sheriff's deputy, police officer and probation and parole officer.
24th Prosecutorial District Attorney
District Attorney Jerry Wilson has said he will retire at the completion of his third term, leaving the field wide open for the office in the 24th Prosecutorial District.
Nathan Miller, a Boone Republican and chairman of the Watauga County Commissioners, filed for the office on Tuesday. With Republicans Seth Banks and Britt Springer also announcing their plans to run for the office, it's shaping up to be a hotly contested primary race.
N.C. House District 93
Sue Counts -- a Democrat and former director of the Watauga County Center of the N.C. Cooperative Extension -- on Monday followed through with her December 2013 announcement that she would run for the N.C. House of Representatives.
Two-term Republican Jonathan Jordan of Jefferson is expected to seek re-election to the seat.
N.C. Senate District 45
Democrat Josh Brannon of Vilas, a software developer, filed his candidacy for the N.C. Senate seat currently held by two-term Republican Dan Soucek of Boone. Soucek is expected to seek re-election to the office.
U.S. House of Representatives - N.C. Fifth District
Republican Virginia Foxx announced Monday that she had filed for re-election to North Carolina's Fifth Congressional District seat in the U.S. House. If elected, Foxx would serve her sixth consecutive term.
It appears Foxx will face a challenger from within her own party, as Republican Philip Doyle of Clemmons filed Tuesday for the Fifth District seat.
Democrat Kay Hagan's Senate seat is up for election this year, with a number of candidates lining up to oppose her. Republicans Mark Harris of Raleigh and Ted Alexander of Shelby filed for the seat on Monday.