Filing Concludes: Candidates Set Up for ’22 Races

Elections Teaser
File photograph by Ted Fitzgerald/The Pilot

It took three more months than originally planned, but candidate filing for 2022 elections concluded Friday, setting in motion a crowded ballot for voters in Moore County.

This year’s ballot will mark the debut of new districts drawn as a result of the 2020 U.S. Census. That population count bestowed an additional seat in the U.S. House for North Carolina — the delegation will now include 14 House seats — and reconfigured new boundaries for state House and Senate races.

Indeed it was the maps for all those districts that led to a delay in filing, which opened Dec. 6 and was to have concluded Dec. 17. Groups that opposed the state and congressional districts drawn last fall by the Republican-controlled General Assembly sued to overturn those districts as unconstitutional. Filing was delayed as a result of the lawsuits, and ultimately the state Supreme Court last month ordered new districts drawn.

For Congress, Moore County is reunited in U.S. House District 9; it had been split between the 8th and 9th districts.

For the state Senate, Moore had traditionally been paired either with Randolph County to its north or Richmond County to its south. Now, it will share a district with a part of Cumberland County.

The biggest change is in the state House. Most of Moore had been in House District 52, with a portion of northern and western Moore in District 78, which was largely a Randolph County district. The new maps divide Moore County into three House districts; 51, which includes central and eastern Moore but is heavily in Lee County; 52, which now includes less of Moore and all of Richmond County; and 78, which includes large parts of rural Randolph County and western and southern Moore County, including Pinehurst, Robbins, Foxfire and Seven Lakes.

In addition to electing representatives for Congress and the General Assembly, Moore County voters will also elect four new county commissioners, three new school board members, and fill the offices of sheriff, clerk of court and register of deeds. Three district court judge seats are also to be decided.

The ballot voters see in the May 17 partisan primary and in November will be notable for some names that won’t be on it. Two longtime Board of Education members, Libby Carter and Ed Dennison, did not file for re-election. In a long statement she issued Thursday evening, Carter said she would continue to press ahead for the remainder of the year on school issues.

“As a former Moore County Schools teacher and parent, I have always felt strongly that our traditional public schools should be — in fact, must be — the very best choice for families with children,” she wrote. “With this in mind, I will continue to work to support our strategic goals which enhance school safety, provide support for children with special emotional or learning needs, demand continued academic improvement, and seek to continually make our employees feel valued.”

In her statement, Carter also addressed head-on the vocal opposition she and several other board members have faced in the past year.

“I enjoy my service to the people of Moore County but I do not enjoy the harsh name-calling, false accusations, and inappropriate messages that I have received from some of our fellow citizens,” she wrote. “The threats to both myself and my family have been real. I have remained faithful to my own beliefs and have not bowed to pressure from rogue elements of a political party.

“Membership on the School Board is, by law, a nonpartisan office; I trust my replacement will be someone who understands the need for nonpartisanship, voting with heart and mind, not simply as dictated by a political party. I call upon the good people of Moore County to demand no less of their candidates but to also remember that a difference of opinion does not mean the other person is wrong.”

In addition, longtime Clerk of Courts Susan Hicks and Register of Deeds Judith Martin, will not be before voters this fall. Both announced last year they plan to retire and did not file for re-election.

Candidates for Moore County offices, as of the noon Friday filing deadline:

U.S. House District 9

On the Democratic side of the ticket, state Sen. Ben Clark, who represents Hoke County, has filed for the seat.

On the Republican side, U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, who currently represents District 8, has filed to run in the 9th district though it does not include his Cabarrus County home. He will face a primary challenge from former Army soldier Mike Andriani of Fayetteville, Charlotte businessman Francisco Rios and Asheboro businesswoman Jen Bucardo.

State Senate District 21

Incumbent Republican Sen. Tom McInnis, who moved to a home in Pinehurst when the district was redrawn last fall, was the sole Republican to file. He has represented Moore County since 2019.

McInnis will face Democratic challenger Frank McNeill, a lifelong Aberdeen resident and president of McNeill Oil and Propane. McNeill has served on the Aberdeen town Board of Commissioners and as mayor. He also served on the Moore County Board of Education. He ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2018, losing to Hudson.

State House District 51

This race will feature two candidates: incumbent Republican Rep. John Sauls, of Sanford, and Democratic challenger Malcolm Hall of Carthage.

State House District 52

This race will feature one of the most watched Republican primaries, since it pits two incumbent House members — Jamie Boles of Southern Pines and Ben Moss of Rockingham — against each other. Boles is the incumbent in District 52; Moss was merged into the district via redistricting when Richmond County was drawn into the district. Moss previously had represented District 66.

State House District 78

Three Republicans will vie in a primary for their party’s nomination. Neal Jackson, of Robbins; Cory Bortree, of Asheboro; and David Ashley, of Climax have filed for the district. One Democrat, Erik Davis of Asheboro, has filed for the seat.

District Court Judge 19D Seat 1

Incumbent Judge Warren McSweeney is the sole candidate for the seat. He filed as a Republican.

District Court Judge 19D Seat 2

Carthage attorney Beth Tanner is the only candidate. She filed as a Republican.

District Court Judge 19D Seat 5 (new seat)

Current District Court Judge Regina Joe is the only candidate. She filed as a Democrat.

Board of Commissioners District 1

Three Republican candidates filed for the seat: Jim Von Canon of Lakeview, David McLean of Cameron and Angela Vacek of Vass. No Democrat filed for the seat, so the Republican primary will effectively pick the next commissioner.

Incumbent Catherine Graham has held the seat since 2014 but is not seeking reelection.

Board of Commissioners District 2

This will be a special election to fill the unexpired term of Louis Gregory, who resigned from the board last month for health reasons. The board this past week appointed former Commissioner Nick Picerno to serve in the seat until the November election.

When filing closed on Friday, Picerno was the only Republican to enter his name for the chance to fill out Gregory’s term. He will compete in November against Democrat Ariadne DeGarr, who filed Friday morning. She ran unsuccessfully for commissioner in 2020 against Gregory.

Board of Commissioners District 3

John Ritter, a Republican from Seagrove, and Charlie Smoak, a Republican from Carthage, filed and will face each other in a primary. Incumbent Otis Ritter has held the seat since 2014 but is not seeking reelection.

Board of Commissioners District 5

Kurt Cook, a Republican from Aberdeen, was the only candidate to enter this race. Incumbent Jerry Daeke has held the seat since 2014 but is not seeking reelection.

Clerk of Court

Two Republicans will compete in a primary for this seat: Christopher Morgan, of Carthage and Todd Maness, of Vass. No Democrat filed.

Register of Deeds

Three Republicans will compete in the party primary for this seat: Bill Britton of Carthage; Andrew Ritter of Seagrove; and George “Wes” Little Jr., of Aberdeen. No Democrat filed.


Incumbent Sheriff Ronnie Fields, a Republican, was alone in the race until late Thursday, when local radio station owner Steve Adams filed to run for sheriff again. Adams, who co-owns WEEB 990 AM, last ran for Sheriff in 2018 as an independent and was soundly beaten by Fields. He filed as a Republican this time, meaning the two men will face each other in the May Republican primary. Adams also ran unsuccessfully for Sheriff in 2014.

Board of Education District 3

Two candidates filed for this non-partisan seat: incumbent Pam Thompson, who currently serves as chairwoman of the board, and Shannon Davis of Carthage.

Board of Education At-Large

Although this race is non-partisan, a primary will be needed to eliminate one of the five candidates seeking two open seats. The candidates: Ken Benway of Whispering Pines; Pauline Bruno of Pinehurst; Robin Calcutt of Southern Pines; Rollie Sampson of Southern Pines; and Forrest Leach of Seven Lakes.