NC Governor Roy Cooper has appointed Jim Kimel, a former Guilford County district attorney who’s now a criminal defense attorney in Greensboro, as the chairman of the Guilford County Board of Elections.
The governor’s appointment of Kimel, a Democrat, fills the last open seat on the county’s new board of elections after the old board was done away with in late December by a change in state law.
Guilford County Board of Elections Director Charlie Collicutt said on Monday, Feb. 25, that his office was still awaiting the paperwork but said he had been informed the governor had made the appointment.
Under new state statutes governing the five-member county boards of elections, the NC Board of Elections appoints four of the members – under the restriction that there must be two Democrats and two Republicans – while the governor appoints the fifth – the chairman who may be unaffiliated or a member of any party.
Previously county boards of elections in North Carolina elected their own chairmen but under the new rules it is the governor’s call.
Several weeks ago, the state elections board announced its appointments to most county boards across the state, but the governor did not make his appointments. The state board named Republicans Eugene Lester and Kathryn Lindley, and Democrats Rev. T. Anthony Spearman and Carolyn Bunker, to the Guilford County board. With the exception of Bunker, all of the new board members served on the previous Board of Elections at time it was done away with.
Collicutt said Kimel will determine when the new election board will meet for the first time. He said it’s a relatively down time for the elections business right now and there’s no urgent need for the board to meet despite being out of commission for two months, but he added that Kimel may wish to hold a meeting soon so he and the new board can be sworn in.
Kimel, received both is bachelor’s and law degree from the University of NC at Chapel Hill and started practicing law in 1973. After serving for over a decade as an assistant Guilford County district attorney, Kimel was elected to four consecutives terms as Guilford County’s district attorney, which is quite an accomplishment given the fact that Kimel was the only district attorney in Guilford County in the last century to be reelected.
Jim may be a Democrat, but when I worked with him on the board, he was always fair and applied election law to each case. Occasionally there was a difference of opinion, but he was still professional.