Three Democrats filed for seats on the Lee County Board of Commissioners on Thursday, and a fourth said he planned to do so before the day ended.
Incumbent Robert Reives Sr., commissioner for the county’s District 1, and challengers John Kirkman (District 2) and Larry “Doc” Oldham (District 4) made their intent to run formal on Thursday morning, and challenger Chuck Baker (District 3) said he would file before the end of the day.
Reives had as of Thursday afternoon not yet drawn an opponent. Kirkman will face incumbent Republican Kirk Smith, the board’s chairman, and Baker is seeking the seat held by Republican Dr. Andre Knecht.
The challengers should all be familiar to political observers. Kirkman is a former chairman of the Lee County Democratic Party and was a candidate for the state’s 12th Senate District in 2020. Oldham served two terms on the Board of Commissioners from 2008 to 2012 and again from 2014 to 2018. He was defeated in 2018 by District 4 incumbent Arianna Lavallee by just 30 votes. Baker faced Knecht in 2014.
Smith, the only other candidate who had filed for the Board of Commissioners as of Thursday, did so in December.
Also Thursday, Republican Alan Rummel filed for a seat on the Lee County Board of Education. He joins Republicans Eric Davidson and Chris Gaster, and Democrats Pat McCracken and Walter Ferguson in the race for three seats on the board. Democrat Christine Hilliard is expected to file as well.
Additionally, Republican state Rep. John Szoka of Fayetteville announced on Twitter that he would seek election to Congress from the newly-drawn 9th District, of which Lee County is a part.
Important Campaign Update: In light of today’s 3-Judge Panel Ruling, I am announcing my candidacy for the newly formed 9th Congressional District. North Carolina deserves strong conservative leadership in Washington and I look forward to earning your vote. #ncpol pic.twitter.com/YVJekfLLa8
— Rep. John Szoka (@JohnSzoka) February 23, 2022
Meanwhile, a three way primary for the state Senate’s 12th District, which covers Lee, Harnett and part of Sampson County, appears to be taking shape. Assuming incumbent Republican Jim Burgin files, he is expected to face at least two other GOP office seekers. Ernie Watson sent a statement to The Rant on Thursday, describing himself as a “20 year Air Force veteran and small business owner in Sanford.”
“I believe our district needs fresh leadership that will fight for our citizens, promote positive economic policy focused on our district, and give the citizens a voice in Raleigh,” Watson said.
Another potential candidate, David Buboltz of Lillington, has a campaign website which focuses heavily on abortion, gun rights, and “medical freedom.” It was unclear Thursday if he had filed.
Thursday was the first day filing re-opened after it was halted in December so the state Supreme Court could hear a challenge to the state and Congressional electoral maps. Filing ends at noon on March 4.