Voters in Bladen County will need to start thinking about their election decisions two months earlier than normal, since the state of North Carolina, for the first time in history, will hold its primary in March rather than May.
Bladen County has a number of races that will be challenged, along with a couple of important referendums to be decided.
Races with opposition …
— Incumbent William Brisson of Dublin faces off against challenger Benjamin Norman of Elizabethtown in the Democratic primary for the N.C. House District 22 seat.
— Incumbent Billy Ray Pait of Clarkton will face challenger David Gooden of Elizabethtown for the county-wide Bladen County Board of Commissioners seat in the Republican primary.
— Four individuals are vying for two county-wide seats on the Bladen County Board of Commissioners in the Democratic primary — incumbent Jimmie Smith of Elizabethtown and challengers Avery Rising of White Oak; Pamela Benton of Bladenboro; and G. Michael Cogdell of Elizabethtown.
— Newcomers Ophelia Munn-Goins of Riegelwood and Anthony McKoy of Elizabethtown are facing off for the seat being vacated by County Commissioner Delilah Blanks out of District 1 in the Democratic primary.
— Incumbent Wayne Edge of Elizabethtown will face challenger Ken Register Jr. of Elizabethtown for the District 3 seat on the Board of Commissioners in the Democratic primary.
— Incumbent Glenn McKoy of Council is being challenged by Sabrina Murchison of Clarkton for the District 1 seat on the Bladen County Board of Education in the Democratic primary.
— Incumbent Wilbur Smith of Bladenboro will face challenger Berry Lewis of Bladenboro for the District 2 seat on the Board of Education. Smith is currently the chairman of the BOE, and Smith is a former board member.
— In the Republican presidential primary, there are 12 candidates on the ballot: Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina and Jim Gilmore.
— In the Democratic presidential primary, there are four candidates on the ballot: Martin O’Malley, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Roque De la Fuente.
— In the Libertarian presidential primary, there are 11 candidates on the ballot: John David Hale, Cecil Ince, Gary Johnson, Steven Elliott Kerbel, Darryl Perry, Austin Peterson, Derrick Michael Reid, Jack Robinson Jr., Rhett Rosenquest Smith, Barbara Joy Waymire and Marc Allan Feldman.
— For or against: Connect NC Public Improvement Bond
— For or against: Sale of unfortified wine in White Lake
— For or against: Sale of malt beverage in White Lake
— For or against: Bladen County Sales and Use Tax
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.