The Monday, Dec. 7 Guilford County Board of Commissioners meeting held to swear in new commissioners was just about as notable for the woman who wasn’t there as it was for the people who were.

Mary Beth Murphy, a school teacher who would most likely have been sworn in as Guilford County’s District 4 commissioner were it not for the election protest filed by District 4 Commissioner Alan Branson, wasn’t at the meeting where two of her fellow Democrats were sworn in to their seats as commissioners.

In the end, Murphy is expected to prevail. However, Branson has the right to appeal a coming Guilford County Board of Elections decision to the NC State Board of Elections and then appeal that decision to the courts.

The last time Guilford County saw something like this was in the November 2004 election – and that battle wasn’t decided until May of 2006.

At the Dec. 7 Board of Commissioner’s rare morning meeting, Murphy’s name almost never came up. The current commissioners had words of welcome for Carly Cooke and James Upchurch – the two new Democratic county commissioners who were sworn in that morning – but references to Murphy were almost non-existent.  

Likewise, Commissioners Hank Henning and Jeff Phillips got a lot of accolades from the other commissioners since they were stepping down from the board after having chosen not to run again. But, Branson, who’s still a commissioner for the time being, didn’t get any accolades – though Democratic Commissioner Carolyn Coleman did joke that Branson, a Republican, would likely not be a commissioner by the end of the week.

Guilford County Clerk to the Board Robin Keller said that Murphy was invited to attend the meeting, however, Keller added that Murphy chose not to attend.