Yet another candidate is gathering petitions for an unaffiliated slot in the Bladen County Clerk of Court race.
Aaron Cox, a magistrate, contacted election officials last week, according to Cynthia Shaw of the Bladen Coard of Elections. Cox told elections workers that he is gathering signatures to be included on the ballot.
After a razor-thin primary victory over incumbent Pam Huff, Niki Dennis would have been the sole candidate on the ballot in November. There was no Republican candidate on the primary ballot.
Former Clerk’s office employee Gloria Smith began a petition drive two weeks ago to have her name placed on the ballot as an unaffiliated candidate. Shaw said0 Cox began a similar campaign last week. Under state law, an unaffiliated candidate who turns in petitions with four percent of the registered voters in their jurisdiction can be placed on the ballot.
As of Friday, Smith had gathered around 75 percent of the required 817 votes to be placed on the ballot. She was at the Ammon Blueberry Festival Saturday gathering petition signatures and handing out voter registration forms.
“I truly feel like I can do a good job in this office,” Smith said. “I feel like I have a lot of support, and I’m going to make a good run of it.”
Cox was no immediately available for comment.
Shaw said candidates have until around June 15 to turn in their petitions.
“We need to have enough time to certify that the signtures are of people registered to vote in Bladen County,” Shaw said. “We have to certify the names by noon on June 30, and we have to have some time to make sure the numbers and names are right.
“Some people will get kicked out of the system,” Shaw said. “They might not be registered, or the state system may say they actuially live in another county. The candidates need to make sure they have enough signatures to cover that.”
Smith is the only candidate in either race to turn in petitions so far. In the State House District 22 race, both the primary winner William Brisson and Greg Taylor, the man who hopes to be his challenger were hard at work shaking hands and greeting voters.
Greg Taylor, who hopes to gather 1,744 registered voters’ signatures by the deadline. He said Saturday “It’s been going reall well.
“There are a lot of people out there who support my candidacy,” he said. “I’m hearing from quite a few folks, and I’m sure we’ll greatly exceed the required number.”
Both Brisson and Taylor have served on the Bladen County Board of Commissioners as chairman. Taylor is currently chair of the board, and has two years left to serve on his term. It was incorreclty reported in an earlier story that Taylor defeated Brisson.
Brisson served as commissioner from 1993 until 2003, when he was defeated by Charles Ray Peterson. He defeated Taylor in 1997, and in 2000 Taylor defeated Fred Bowen for a seat on the board. Lewis Tatum relinquished the chairmanship of the board to Taylor due illness.
Although unaffiliated challenges are not unusual in North Carolina, having multiple races on the same ballot is uncommon in North Carolina, according to the State Board of Elections. Successful runs by unaffiliated candidates are rare.