Field of 10 seeking commission seats

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • The candidate filing period that reopened February 24, closed Friday March 4 with the final filings on the books ahead of the upcoming primary election.

A large field of candidates will seek election to three seats up for contest this year on the Hoke County Board of Commissioners. A total of 10 candidates, including five Democrats and five Republicans, have filed to seek a seat on the board.

The incumbent commissioners who are seeking another four-year term are Chairman Allen Thomas, Vice Chairman Tony Hunt and Commissioner Harry Southerland. All three are Democrats. They will face a primary election challenge this May from Democrat candidates Carlton Barber and Lent Carr.

The five Republican candidates running for the commission are Johnny Boyles, Stephanie Carter, David Frump, Issac A. Holder and Christopher Holland. Boyles, Carter and Holland all filed during the reopened filing period. The original filing period in December was cut short due to state litigation over redistricting, but filing reopened last month after legislators redrew the district maps.

Registered Republican and Democrat voters, and unaffiliated voters who choose to vote on a partisan ballot will be able to select three of the five candidates from their party in the primary election. The primary will narrow the field to three Republican candidates and three Democrat candidates. Those candidates will face one another in the general election this November.

One anticipated local election will not be on the primary ballot May 17, because only one candidate from each party filed to seek the office.

In the race for Hoke County Sheriff, incumbent Sheriff Roderick Virgil, a Democrat, filed to seek a four-year term in the office. Retired State Trooper Stevie Joe, a Republican, filed to run for sheriff. The race will not appear on the primary ballot but will be decided in November in the general election.

The race for Clerk of Superior Court will be on the Democrat primary ballot, after two Democrats filed to seek the office. Incumbent Evelyn McLeod will face candidate LaShonda Ely in the primary election. Ely filed last week to run for Clerk of Superior Court.

Filing for three seats on the Hoke County Board of Education will open this summer, along with filing for other non-partisan entities such as the Soil and Water Conservation Board.

In state and federal elections, there will be a several contested races. In the contest for U.S. House of Representatives District 9, incumbent Richard Hudson, a Republican, will face a Republican candidate seeking the office. Francscisco Rios filed to run against Hudson. The race will be on the Republican primary ballot in May. The winner of that contest will face Democrat candidate, former state Sen. Ben Clark III in November.

In the race for N.C. House of Representatives District 48, incumbent state Rep. Garland Pierce, a Democrat, will face Republican candidate Melissa Swarbrick in the November general election.

The voter registration deadline for the upcoming primary election is April 18. One-stop early voting begins April 28 at 8 a.m. and ends May 14 at 3 p.m. The primary election is May 17, when all precincts will be open from 6:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.

For more information on registering to vote or other elections questions, contact the Hoke County Board of Elections at (910) 875-9062 or visit

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