WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - December 1 marks the beginning of the candidate filing period for North Carolina's 2016 elections. Candidates running for federal, state and local races have until December 21 to register, with primary elections scheduled for March 15, 2016, and the General Election scheduled for November 8, 2016.
Voters will have a full slate of races on the ballot. Lawmakers moved all of North Carolina's primary elections from May to March, to take advantage of the expected high voter turnout in the presidential primary, and as a way to save money by avoiding two primary election dates.
Incumbent Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) is running for re-election in 2016, with several Democrats expected to seek the nomination to run against him. Congressmen David Rouzer (R-NC7) and Walter B. Jones (R-NC3) have announced intentions to run in 2016. Jones will likely face a primary challenge from at least one opponent, Taylor Griffin, who fell short in his 2014 bid by a 51-45 margin.
Governor Pat McCrory (R-NC) will seek a second term, with incumbent Attorney General Roy Cooper as the likely Democratic challenger for the office. Both men may face primary challengers.
There will be at least two new members of the Council of State, with Cooper choosing to run for Governor and state Treasurer Janet Cowell announcing plans not to run for re-election.
Voters will also elect at least two new members of the General Assembly. Rep. Rick Catlin (R-NC20) and Rep. Ken Waddell (D-NC46) have said they will not seek new terms. Two candidates from Wilmington, Tammy Covil and Holly Grange, have said they will run for Catlin's seat, while Brenden Jones of Tabor City plans to run for Waddell's office.
Seats on county commissions and school boards will also be decided in 2016. State lawmakers also placed a $2 billion infrastructure bond referendum on the March 15 primary ballot, and leaders in at least one local county are considering a school bond referendum for the November ballot.