Filing for the 2018 elections closed at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 28, which means no new candidates can be added, but it is likely that a couple will drop out.
It appears the Democrats and Republicans had the same strategy, which is find somebody to run in as many races as possible, so not many incumbents are getting a free ride back into office.
Voter turnout is expected to be low because the only statewide races on the ballot are for judges and there is no primary for judicial races in May. One North Carolina Supreme Court seat and three seats on the North Carolina Court of Appeals will be on the ballot in November, but judicial races don’t attract much attention. Neither North Carolina senator is up for election and the governor and other statewide offices are voted on in presidential election years.
If you’re a gambler, bet on the incumbent in every race because the incumbents usually win the vast majority.
Although the districts have been drawn and redrawn for state House and state Senate districts, it appears the final outcome will likely be that the Democrats will pick up one state House seat in the Guilford County delegation.
There was a good reason that Rep. John Blust, who had been down in Raleigh for 20 years, decided not to run. The special master who drew the districts for Guilford County as the result of federal court meddling in state politics, drew state house District 57, making it unlikely that a Republican could win, particularly a conservative Republican with a long voting history like Blust.
All the elections this year are partisan, even the judicial and school board races that in the past had been nonpartisan.
The primary is Tuesday, May 8, and the general election Tuesday, Nov. 6. So in races without a primary there won’t be much action until summer.
Republican 6th District Congressman Mark Walker doesn’t have a primary, but two Democrats, Ryan Watts from Burlington and Gerald Wong from Greensboro, have filed to run against him. The 6th District is considered a safe Republican district, so either Wong or Watts will be facing an uphill battle in November.
Walker is running for his third term in Congress and his second term representing the current 6th District, which was redrawn after the 2016 race was already underway. There was an attempt by the Democrats to have the congressional districts redrawn again for the 2018 election, but the courts failed to approve it.
Republican 13th District Congressman Ted Budd has no primary, which is a far cry from 2016 when Budd won the Republican primary with 20 percent of the vote over 16 Republican opponents.
Because the primary was held late due to the redistricting, there was no runoff in the congressional primary elections in 2016. Blust finished second in that primary with 10 percent of the vote.
Then Budd defeated Former Guilford County Commissioner Bruce Davis in the general election.
Two Democrats are vying to run against Budd. Adam Coker, who ran in the Democratic primary in 2016 and finished third out of five, and Kathy Manning, who is making her first foray into politics.
Manning was in charge of raising money for the Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Greensboro. The original goal was to raise $10 million in private money and Manning raised $40 million, so Manning knows how to raise money.
Manning is married to Randall Kaplan, one of the partners in Elm Street Hotel LLC that is partnering with the City of Greensboro to build a parking deck and Westin Hotel in downtown Greensboro. The $60 million project is currently tied up in court over an easement.
Libertarian Tom Bailey has also filed to run for the 13th Congressional District seat. He has no primary opponent.
There are only two primaries in state House and state Senate races.
Democratic state District 58 Rep. Amos Quick will be facing Kate Flippen in the Democratic primary. Quick was on the Guilford County Board of Education for 12 years before being elected to the state House in 2016.
The winner of that primary will face Peter Boykin in the general election in November. District 58 is a fairly safe Democratic district that will be tough for Boykin to win.
Republican District 59 state Rep. Jon Hardister has attracted two Republican opponents, Karen Albright from Greensboro and Mark McDaniel from Whitsett. The winner of the May 8 primary will face Democrat Steven Buccini of Whitsett.
Hardister is currently the majority whip in the House. He was first elected in 2012 and had to move from Greensboro to Whitsett to stay in his district.
Although there aren’t many primaries, no state senator or representative from Guilford County is getting a free ride back to Raleigh. All the incumbents except Blust are running and all have opponents.
Republican District 24 State Sen. Rick Gunn from Burlington acquired eastern Guilford County in the redistricting. Gunn will face Democrat J.D. Wooten from Whitsett in the general election in November.
Republican District 26 state Sen. Jerry Tillman from Archdale acquired a portion of southern Guilford County in the redistricting. Most of the district is in Randolph County and Tillman will face Democrat Bill McCaskill from Asheboro in November.
Republican District 27 state Sen. Trudy Wade has a newly drawn district but the same old opponent. Wade is being challenged by Democrat Michael Garrett, the son of Guilford County Board of Education member Darlene Garrett.
In 2016, Wade, who is running for her fourth term, defeated Garrett 53 percent to 47 percent.
Democratic District 28 state Sen. Gladys Robinson is another elected official who had to move into her district. Redistricting placed Robinson in the same Senate district with Wade, so Robinson moved to Greensboro to be in District 28, which includes most of Greensboro. She is running against Republican Clark Porter, but the fact that Greensboro just elected eight Democrats to the Greensboro City Council indicates how difficult it will be for a Republican to win.
Republican District 62 state Rep. Blust found himself in District 57 after the special master drew his maps at the request of three federal court judges, and Blust decided not to run in the new Democratic leaning district leaving District 57 as the only open seat in the state House or Senate in Guilford County.
The chairman of the Guilford County Republican Party Troy Lawson has filed to run and he will face Democrat Ashton Clemmons. Two political newcomers in a new district – it should be an interesting race.
District 60 Democratic state Rep. Cecil Brockman is running for his third term in the state House and is being challenged by Republican Kurt Collins from Jamestown. Collins ran for the District 3 seat on the Greensboro City Council in 2015 and was defeated by City Councilmember Justin Outling.
It does get confusing. District 57 Democratic state Rep. Pricey Harrison now lives in District 61 and is running for reelection against Republican political newcomer Alissa Batts. Harrison was first elected to the state House in 2004. But as with everyone else in the state House and Senate, whether the district number changed or not, she is running in a new district.
Republican District 61 state Rep. John Faircloth has been representing District 61 since 2010 and with the redistricting is running for reelection in District 62. Faircloth from High Point will face Democrat Martha Shafer from Summerfield in the November election.
Republicans won’t have any say in electing the next Guilford County district attorney. Current District Attorney Doug Henderson, after 14 years in office, is not running for reelection and two Democrats are running to replace him. Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Reese will be facing former District Court Judge Avery Crump in the Democratic primary. The winner has no Republican opponent.
Because of judicial ethics, Crump had to resign as a District Court judge before filing to run for district attorney. Crump said she worked a full day, resigned and went down to Raleigh to file on Tuesday.
For years, the Guilford County Board of Education races were nonpartisan, but they were made partisan in 2016.
At-large Board of Education member Alan Duncan is being challenged in the Democratic primary by two opponents. Tijuana Hayes is a retired teacher who ran in the at-large race for the Greensboro City Council in 2017 and finished 12th out of 15 candidates. Keith McInnis Sr. of High Point has also filed to run in the Democratic primary.
Duncan, an attorney with Mullins Duncan Harrell & Russell has been on the school board since 2000 and has been chairman since 2002. It’s hard to imagine the Guilford County school board without Duncan in the center seat.
The winner of the Democratic primary will face Republican Marc Ridgill in November. Ridgill, a retired police officer, ran in the at-large race for Greensboro City Council in 2015 and finished fourth in a race where the top three are elected.
Republican District 2 Board of Education member Anita Sharpe is being challenged by Democrat Greg Drumwright. Sharpe served on the school board from 1990 to 2008, took a break and then won her seat back in 2016.
Republican District 4 Board of Education member Linda Welborne, who was first elected in 2012, has attracted three challengers two Democrats and one Republican.
Desiree Best of Brown Summit and Adrienne Spinner of Whitsett will face off in the Democratic primary in May. Spinner has the distinction of being the last candidate to file in Guilford County for the 2018 election and she cut it close, walking in the door of the Board of Elections office in the Old Guilford County Court House at 11:59. If you’re not inside the door by noon, you’ve missed the deadline.
Welborne will face challenger Will Marsh of McLeansville in the Republican primary. The primary winners will face each other in November.
District 6 Republican Board of Education member Wes Cashwell made some of his supporters nervous by not filing until after 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 28. Usually incumbents file early, but evidently some wait until the last hour.
In November, Cashwell will face the winner of the Democratic primary between Chris Hocker and Khem Irby.
Republicans don’t have a say in the District 8 Guilford County Board of Education election. Three candidates have filed to run but all are Democrats.
Democrat District 8 Board of Education member Deena Hayes won in the Democratic primary in 2016 with 80 percent of the vote. This year she is facing Laverne Carter and William Levette. The winner of the primary has no opponent in November.
Republican Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes has been sheriff since 1994, but at least four folks think that’s long enough.
Steve Parr, who worked for the North Carolina Highway Patrol, the Piedmont Triad Airport Authority and retired from the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department, is running against Barnes in the Republican primary.
TJ Phipps, a retired Greensboro police officer, Danny Rogers, who Barnes defeated in 2014, and James Zimmerman, a retired Guilford County deputy who is running for sheriff for the fourth time, have all filed to run in the Democratic primary.
The winners of the primaries will face each other in November.
Democrat Guilford County Clerk of Court Lisa Johnson-Tonkins has no opponent.
Scott Yost wrote about the Guilford County Board of Commissioners races in separate ar