Candidates file for 2016 ElectionBy Yasmine Regester / December 5, 2015
Candidate filing for the 2016 Primary Elections opened at noon on Tuesday. But changes made by The North Carolina General Assembly have moved all of the state’s primaries from May to March 15, which will also push up early voting, giving candidates less time to campaign. Filing will be open until December 21.
Three state Senate seats and eight state House seats are up for this election cycle, as well as the 6th and 12th Congressional U.S. House seats. All the seats on the “Council of State” which is all of the executive positions, from governor and attorney general to secretary of state and agricultural commissioner will also be on the ballot.
To kick-off the 2016 election season, the North Carolina NAACP and Democracy North Carolina have unveiled a plan for a mass voter engagement campaign. The groups revealed their “It’s Our Time, It’s Our Vote” campaign on the 60th anniversary of Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus, which in turn sparked the yearlong Montgomery Bus Boycott. The goal of the campaign is to register voters for the 80 days leading up to the March primary.
North Carolina’s 2013 Voter Identification Verification Act, which requires voters to show a state issued photo ID for the 2016 elections, is now under review by a federal judge. Since the court filing of a federal lawsuit, the General Assembly has altered its original requirement of having state issued identification permitting voters who lack current photo identification to cast a ballot after providing their birth dates, the last four digits of their Social Security number, and an affidavit stating that there is a “reasonable impediment” to their ability to present a photo ID.The first person to file for re-election this week at the Guilford County Board of Elections in Greensboro was Jeff Thigpen, the current Register of Deeds. The office of the Register of Deeds is responsible for marriage licenses, birth and death certificates and papers dealing with property. Thigpen, a former Guilford County Commissioner and a member of the City-Community Working Group on race relations in the city, said it’s his love of bringing people together that is important to him.
“I really love this community. We’ve done a lot of good things, and I want to continue to serve,” said Thigpen.
One familiar face not present on the opening day of filing was Congresswoman Alma Adams of the 12th U.S. Congressional District. Adams said that normally she would file on the first day, but due to scheduling constraints, she said she would file in Raleigh on Friday.
“I think we’ve done an extraordinary amount of work in our district, particularly on Charlotte. People wondered if a representative from Greensboro could help Charlotte, but we’ve gotten past that,” said Adams. “We’ve been able to support a lot of funding to the district.”
Adams, a longtime champion of education, created the HBCU Caucus this year to focus on finding ways to make college more affordable and accessible to more students, especially those from low-income backgrounds.
“When you look at tuition, it’s astronomical and it’s awful. Students are being financially deprived because when they graduate they are already in debt,” said Adams.
State Senator Gladys Robinson filed for re-election for the District 28 N.C. Senate seat. With education cuts occurring in the last state budget, Robinson said she hopes that the state can find more funding for the public school system as well as for higher education.
“I am hopeful about us getting more Democrats in the senate so we can do more positive work for the state and the county,” said Robinson. She also wants to expand Medicaid for the more than 500,000 North Carolinians who are still without healthcare insurance and offer incentives to small businesses.
State House District 58 incumbent Ralph Johnson filed for re-election on Tuesday. Johnson may face challenger Amos Quick, a current Guilford County School Board Member who announced he was filing for office.Johnson is completing his first term in the State House and said he is focusing his campaign on jobs, education, healthcare and sustainable and renewable energy.
“I want us to work on getting more jobs to Greensboro and Guilford County. We need to look everywhere that jobs can be created,” said Johnson, who added he was displeased with all the time spent on Senate Bill 36, a bill introduced by state Sen. Trudy Wade (R-Guilford) to redistrict and restructure the Greensboro City Council. Johnson said it was important to fight a redistricting effort that was never presented properly or vetted by the legislature or the public. He added, the people of Greensboro demanded action.
“We spent four months on SB 36. I don’t think that was the best use of taxpayer money when we could have been working on getting so much more done,” said Johnson.
Rep. Cecil Brockman (D-60) filed for re-election to the N.C. House of Representatives. He is currently in his first term at the General Assembly, and at 31-years-old he is the youngest member of the Democratic Caucus.“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve this district for the past year. I look forward to continuing my work as a voice for my constituents in the North Carolina House,” Brockman stated.
More incumbents filing for re-election include state Sen. Trudy Wade in District 27; House Representative Jon Hardister in District 59; House Representative John Faircloth in District 61 and House Representative Jon Blust in District 62. It is expected that Michael Garrett, a Democrat from Guilford County will challenge Wade for the District 27 state senate seat. Guilford County Commissioner Ray Trapp also filed for re-election to the Guilford County Commissioners’ District 8 seat.
North Carolina will hold its 2016 Primary Election on March 15 with the general election taking place on November 8, 2016.