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Next year’s race for the five County Commission seats will see two rematches from the 2020 election, with the possibility of a third rematch awaiting in November. Qualification for the March 5 primaries closed Friday, and six of the 14 total local seats up for election will be challenged, while eight incumbents will run unopposed.
The Republican County Commission races will be of particular interest, especially in Districts 2 and 3. District 2 incumbent Larry Roberts will once again be challenged by Stephanie Herren, who is an admin for the popular Randolph County Accountability Transparency and Public Information Group on Facebook and lost to Roberts by 7 percent of the vote (53.5 to 46.5 percent) in the 2020 primary.
In District 3 incumbent Pam Johnson will once again take on a challenge from Jeff Fetner. The two advanced to a runoff after the 2020 primary in which Fetner actually outgained Johnson 32.5 percent to 30.2 percent in a crowded field for an open seat, forcing the runoff. But when the two went head to head Johnson won out with 52 percent of the vote.
Two other County Commission seats will be contested in the Republican primary as well. District 1 incumbent Chris Brown will be challenged by Chris Lunsford, and District 4 commissioner Derek Farr will take on a challenge from Barry Johnson.
Democrat Kerry Drake also qualified for the District 4 commission race and will face the winner between Farr and Barry Johnson in the general election in November. Drake lost to Farr 65 percent to 31 percent in the 2020 general election.
Three seats on the county school board will be up for election next year, and two of those seats will be contested in March’s Republican primary.
The District 2 race for the Republican nomination will be between Mark Prestridge and Lance Daniel for the seat currently held by Darrel Hardin. The Distrct 6 race will be between incumber Margie Murphy and challenger Shean Bradley. Murphy was appointed to that seat when board member Jimmy McCain passed away.
Eight of the incumbents in local positions up for election in 2024 will go unopposed. They are: Circuit clerk Chris May, probate judge George Diamond, Randolph County Schools superintendent John Jacobs, district judge Amy Newsome, circuit judge Isaac Wharton, circuit judge Steve Perryman, county school board member Tamara Taylor and District 5 County Commissioner Lorenzo Foster.
All of the qualified candidates must be certified by the local party chairs by December 14 in order to appear on the ballot.
Winners of the March 5 primary election will appear on the ballot in the general election November 5, 2024.
Independent candidates can qualify for the general election ballot as well by petitioning the voters in their local area for a spot on the ballot. Prospective independent candidates must get signatures from 3 percent of the total number of voters who voted in the most recent governor’s election in the district of the office for which they are running.
For example, if someone wanted to run for a school board seat and 400 people in the district for that seat voted in the most recent governor’s election, that person would need 12 signatures in order to qualify as an independent candidate for that seat.
That petition must be submitted to the Randolph County probate office or the circuit clerk by March 4, 2024, in order to qualify for the general election.