WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – The filing period for candidates has ended in North Carolina, and the effect of the General Assembly's 2011 redistricting efforts has created some interesting primary elections for seats in Raleigh and Washington, DC.
Three of the longest-serving local legislators decided not to run for re-election, opening some opportunities for others to challenge for new offices.
Between them, state representatives Dewey Hill (D-Columbus), Carolyn Justice (R-Pender) and Danny McComas (R-New Hanover) served nearly a half-century of time (48 years) in the General Assembly.
Hill was the first to make the announcement earlier this year.
Chadbourn Mayor Ken Waddell and Al Leonard, the town manager of Tabor City, have filed to run as Republicans.
Gaston Pridgen of Lumberton is the lone Democrat to file for the District 46 seat, which covers all of Columbus and small parts of Bladen and Robeson Counties.
Justice decided not to run for re-election to the District 16 seat in House, which represents all of Pender and northwestern Onslow County. Three Republicans have filed to run, and they are all from Hampstead.
Jeff Howell, Chris Millis and Tim Thomas will face off in the May primary.
McComas' decision came one day before the filing period deadline. Minutes after McComas' announcement went out to local media, Ted Davis, Chairman of New Hanover County Commission, filed to run as a Republican for the District 19 seat.
He will have a primary challenger. Dean Lambeth, the Mayor of Kure Beach, filed before the deadline Wednesday. Another official from Kure Beach, Emilie Swearingen, is the only Democrat running.
The 2012 elections could have a big impact on New Hanover County leadership.
Davis is running in District 19, and fellow Commissioner Rick Catlin filed for the open 20th District seat. He is the only Republican in that race. Catlin picked up a challenger before Wednesday's deadline when Tom Gale filed to run as a Democrat.
Should both Davis and Catlin win, new Commissioners would be appointed to fill their seats.
Redistricting set up a new challenge for incumbent legislator Susi Hamilton (D-New Hanover). Her 18th District now includes part of Brunswick County. James Knox, the Mayor of Northwest, filed to run against Hamilton in the primary. Louis Harmati of Winnabow is the only Republican running in that race.
Incumbent Senators Bill Rabon (R-Brunswick) and Thom Goolsby (R-New Hanover) will both have local challengers in the General Election. Redistricting changed Rabon's 8th District, which added Bladen County and lost Columbus to go along with Brunswick and Pender Counties. Democrat Danny Hefner of Ocean Isle Beach is his opponent.
Goolsby will be challenged by fellow attorney Deb Butler for the District 9 seat in New Hanover County. Columbus County is now part of the Senate's 13th District with Robeson County. Republican W. Bernard White of Whiteville is challenging incumbent Senator Michael Walters of Fairmont for that seat.
Incumbent William Brisson will also have a primary challenger for his District 22 seat. Because of redistricting, it now covers most of Bladen and Sampson Counties instead of Bladen and Cumberland.
Attorney Matt Dixon of Elizabethtown has filed to run as a Democrat, and will face Brisson in the May election.
Candidates for Congress are also running in re-drawn districts. Incumbent Mike McIntyre is seeking another term in the 7th District. However, it has changed.
Gone are parts of New Hanover, Pender and most of Robeson counties, including McIntyre's home town of Lumberton. Included are parts of Lenoir and Hoke Counties, along with all of Johnston County.
That brought NC Senator David Rouzer (R-Johnston) into the mix as a Republican candidate. He will face Ilario Pantano in the May primary. Pantano ran for the seat in 2010, and has filed to run once again. Randy Crow has also entered the Republican race.
Areas of New Hanover and Pender counties are now in the 3rd Congressional District, where incumbent Walter B. Jones (R-Pitt) has filed to run for re-election. Republican Frank Palombo of New Bern will face Jones in the May primary election. Democrat Erik Anderson of Winterville is also in that race.
To check on the candidates that have filed in southeastern North Carolina, click on your county under the "List of 2012 Candidates" on the Decision 2012 page.
The primary election will take place on May 8th, with the general election on the calendar for November 6th.
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