Just 24 hours ahead of the filing deadline for the 2020 election saw candidates come out in droves for local elections.
Macon County voters will head to the polls next year and cast their ballots for two seats on the Macon County Board of Commissioners, a new State Senator for District 50, a new House of Representative for District 120 and a new Congressional Representative for District 11.
On the county level, District III seat, currently held by Paul Higdon will be an uncontested seat, meaning Higdon will be re-elected to another term. As for District II, up until late last Thursday afternoon, there was just one name on the ballot, Terry Bradley, former Franklin Police Chief, who filed last week to run for election.
By Thursday afternoon two others, both Democrats filed to run for the District II seat, Olga Lampkin and Betty Cloer Wallace.
By the Friday deadline, Republicans Bryan Rauers and Josh Young had also filed for District II, which means the seat will now be on the March Primary ballot with the result determining which Democrat and which Republican will appear on the November ballot.
On the state level, Macon County Republican Karl Gillespie failed to garner any challengers for the North Carolina House District 120 seat, left vacant when incumbent Rep. Kevin Corbin announced he would be seeking election in the Senate.
House District 120 encompasses Macon, Clay, Cherokee, and Graham counties in the far western portion of the state. With no Republicans filing before the noon deadline on Friday, Gillespie will not have a primary opponent this March and will automatically appear on the November 2020 ballot. However, just before the noon deadline, Gillespie picked up a Democratic challenger in Susan Landis, a democrat from Murphy.
Macon County Republican Kevin Corbin, who has served two terms in the House, announced earlier this year he would be seeking the Senate 50 seat, left vacant when Senator Jim Davis announced his retirement.
The Senate seat Corbin is running for includes all four counties in the House seat he has maintained for two years but also includes Jackson, Swain, and Haywood counties. Rep. Corbin will have to face off against another Republican opponent in the March primary. Jackson County Republican Sarah Conway has added her name to the ballot. Conway is a newcomer to the local political scene but hopes to win the March primary to be sent to the Senate. Conway is registered to vote in Jackson County, but according to her registration with the State Board of Elections, lists a Highlands address, which falls on the border of the two counties. Whoever wins the March primary between Conway and Corbin will go on to appear on the ballot in November.
In November 2020, the Republican winner of the March Primary will face off against Haywood County Democrat Victoria Fox and Jackson County Libertarian candidate Clifton Ingram, both of whom filed for Senate District 50 seat on December 19.
The local Judicial Contest will also see a few familiar faces as several local attorneys are vying for the North Carolina District Court Judge District 30 Seat 06. The seat is currently held by Richard Walker, who plans to retire at the end of his term. The vacant seat has garnered several names including Macon County based Republican attorney Richard Cassady. Other attorneys who practice in Macon County and surrounding counties to add their name to the ballot. Additional Republican candidates include two former Assistant District Attorneys, Jim Moore and Kaleb Wingate, both whom are from Haywood County, and Defense Attorney Mitch Brewer from Hayesville. One Democrat has filed for the seat, Attorney Justin Greene from Swain County.
Confusion over lawsuits surrounding the congressional district maps slightly delayed elections filing, however, as of last week candidates were able to file for US House of Representative District 11, which includes the far western 17 counties. While the maps are still being debated and District 11 may slightly shift to include portions of Asheville not currently in the district, it will not impact the far west counties such as Macon.
Congressman Mark Meadows announced last Thursday morning that he will be retiring from Congress and will not be seeking re-election to a fifth term.
The US House District 11 seat already had several challengers prior to Meadows’ announcement, but with the front-runner no longer on the ballot, Republicans a mad dash to Raleigh to file for the US House District 11 seat ahead of the noon deadline.
There are now 17 contenders.
Republicans include Macon County Republican Jim Davis, Haywood County Realtor Lynda Bennett and Buncombe County resident Charles Archerd, all of whom filed on Thursday.
Congressman Meadows’ Deputy Chief of Staff, Wayne King filed for the District 11 seat on Friday just before deadline. Along with King, other Republicans include Dan Driscoll, Joey Osborne, Steven Fekete, Jr., Dillon Gentry, Madison Cawthron, Matthew Burril, and Vance Patterson, who has challenged Meadows in past elections. Republican candidates are from all over the district ranging from Winston Salem to Banner Elk.
Four Democrats and one member of the Green Party also filed for the seat early during the filing process.
Democrats include Robert Steven Woodsmall from Pisgah Forest, who ran in the 2018 primary for the same seat, but lost, Gina Rockey Collias from Kings Mountain, and Morris Durham Davis from Asheville. In addition, Phillip Price, who challenged Meadows in 2018, filed Friday morning.
Tamara Lynn Zwinak filed to run as a Green Party candidate against Congressman Mark Meadows, and according to her registration with the State Board of Elections, she resides in Macon County in Franklin. Tracey DeBruhl, a Libertarian candidate from Asheville filed late Thursday.
The state’s political makeup overall could see a significant shift during the 2020 election. In addition to local elections and the Presidential election, the majority of State offices will appear on the ballot. From North Carolina Governor, to Attorney General, to North Carolina Superintendent of Schools, most major state offices will appear on the ballot in 2020.
The Primary is scheduled for March 3, 2020 with the general election scheduled for November 3, 2020.
By Brittney Lofthouse