By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • Hoke County’s incumbent state senator won’t seek another term in office when his current term is up in 2022.
Sen. Ben Clark III, a Democrat who represents both Hoke County and part of Cumberland County in North Carolina’s state Senate District 21, said Monday he won’t run for re-election next year.
In the announcement about his intent not to seek office again, Clark said that representing the citizens of Hoke and Cumberland counties has been “the blessing and honor of his life.”
Clark was first elected in 2012 and will have been in office for 10 years by the time his current term expires. He is serving his fifth two-year term.
The state senator intends to complete his current term. He’s still focused on “the many tasks at hand,” his announcement said.
“The citizens of Hoke and Cumberland deserve fair representation in the state budget and the new congressional and legislative maps. I am very focused on that,” Clark said.
Clark’s current district is among those that may change on the map as state legislators work to draw new district lines. The new maps are meant to bring North Carolina up to date with the most recent U.S. Census data. Legislators will also add a fourteenth Congressional district to the state as part of the redistricting.
Clark is from Hoke County. He is a military veteran who served in the United States Air Force for more than 20 years. Besides his work as an elected official, he works at Fort Bragg.
Clark won multiple contested elections for his seat. In the years that he ran for office, he typically carried the vote among Hoke County voters when seeking re-election.
The senator also won the right to continue to seek office after a challenge in 2018 that claimed he did not live in the district he represents. Clark contested the residency challenge. Following decisions from panels of local and state elections officials, he was allowed to run again and won in 2018 and 2020.
This year Clark was one of several Democrats who voted in support of a Republican-backed state budget proposal that contains millions of dollars in infrastructure funding. The budget includes $31 million for Hoke County to build a new courthouse.
Hoke’s state representative, Rep. Garland Pierce, also voted for the budget as a Democrat. Both of the officials have been part of the budget talks process this summer.
Clark said that after leaving office he plans to “seek other ways to serve the community, outside of the N.C. General Assembly.”