The candidate filing period for the May 17 primary ended at noon on Friday, March 4, but, before it did, former county commissioner Steve Arnold shocked a lot of county officials past and present when he filed to run for the District 2 Board of Commissioners seat now held by Guilford County Commissioner Alan Perdue.
Arnold served on the Board of Commissioners for two decades before deciding not to run in 2010. At that time, many assumed Arnold’s political career was over.
But his last-minute filing at the High Point Board of Elections office on Friday showed that wasn’t the case, and news of the filing spread quickly among Guilford County officials.
In the past 12 years, very little had been heard from the former long-time commissioner.
When Arnold, known for his hard-nosed conservatism, decided not to run for Guilford County commissioner over a decade ago, that decision came during a time when Arnold had filed for bankruptcy and a judge in the bankruptcy case had stated that Arnold was wearing “numerous badges of fraud.”
In a highly controversial move, Arnold also, convinced the Guilford County Board of Commissioners to buy the Russell Street Building in High Point from a business partner at a vastly inflated price in a move the county has regretted ever since.
In another incident in 2007, a Randolph County judge ordered Arnold jailed for civil contempt – finding that Arnold did not cooperate in a lawsuit over an Archdale subdivision that Arnold’s construction company had worked on. At one county commissioners meeting during that time, Arnold was expected to attend – and reporters were asking former Sheriff BJ Barnes if he was going to arrest Arnold when Arnold showed up for the meeting.
Before the financial collapse of 2008, Arnold was known for his highly conservative politics. During the many years when the Republicans were a minority on the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, Arnold would get into huge battles with Democratic Commissioner Skip Alston, who’s currently serving as chairman of the board. In 2008, after the economic collapse, the two men formed an alliance that saw Alston as Chairman and Arnold as vice chairman. The two then went on to work closely together.
At that time, Perdue was Guilford County Emergency Services Director. Perdue later went on to retire from that job and be elected as the District 2 Guilford County commissioner.
The winner of the Republican primary between Arnold and Perdue will take on the sole Democratic contender for the seat – Julian resident Paul Meinhart.