JEFFERSON-The 2016 election season got underway Tuesday afternoon and several candidates wasted no time in filing for office.
Donna Weaver, Ashe County’s former Department of Social Services director, filed to run as a Democrat in next year’s Ashe County Board of Commissioners primary race. She’ll be joined in that primary by former Ashe County Commissioner Richard Blackburn, a Democrat who served on the county board of commissioners from 2002-2010, who filed on Dec. 1.
Nancy Henry, a Democrat and longtime board of elections volunteer and a vocal supporter of Donna Weaver during a series of public hearings in November, threw her hat in the ring as a candidate in next year’s primary as well.
Republican Jonathan Jordan, the holder of the North Carolina House of Representatives 93rd district seat, announced he was again running for office Dec. 1.
“I am again reapplying for the job of State Representative for the High Country based on my record, and I am pleased to compare my record to any challenger,” Jordan said. “For example, I am proud that the House stood firm this budget session to protect Teaching Assistants and their valuable service to our children in our classrooms.”
He’ll be challenged in next year’s Republican primary by Lewis Hendricks, a Blowing Rock resident who retired from the military two years ago.
“Jonathan Jordan hasn’t earned the right to have a free pass in the Republican primary,” Hendricks wrote on his campaign website. “The Republican and Independent voters in Watauga and Ashe County deserve to have a choice. I will give them that choice. A vote for me is a vote for unwavering commitment to public education. It is a vote to represent the best interests of the people of Watauga and Ashe County and not the special interests.”
The 2016 election filing period began at noon on Dec. 1, and will run through noon on Dec. 21. That’s earlier than usual due to state law changes as part of the Voter Identification Verification Act of 2013. The law will require voters to present a valid photo I.D. at the polls – but it also pushes forward the dates for primary elections.
Primaries are scheduled for March 15, which means each county’s board of elections will need to have ballots ready by Jan. 25 to accommodate early voting.
So which seats will be up for grabs next year? Three seats on the Ashe County Board of Commissioners – currently held by Gary Roark, Brien Richardson and Larry Rhodes – will be decided by voters in 2016.
Two Ashe County Board of education seats, those currently held by Dr. Lee Beckworth and C.B. Jones, will also be up for grabs.
State level races include both the governor and lieutenant governor positions, along with the seats currently held by Sen. Dan Soucek and Rep. Jonathan Jordan in the North Carolina General Assembly.
Federal races include the U.S. Senate seat held by Richard Burr and Virginia Foxx’s 5th Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
We’ll update with candidate reactions as they become available.
Reach Adam Orr at 336-489-3058 or Twitter.com/AdamROrr.