On the May 12 primary election ballot, voters will find familiar names for the offices of assessor, the District 1 commission seat, the three magistrate seats, sheriff, prosecuting attorney, and, in a separate non-partisan election held in conjunction with the primary, two board of education seats.
During the primary election, voters of each political party choose a nominee to face off in the Nov. 3 general election.
Michael E. Cook currently serves as assessor. He is unopposed.
Jason Mullins holds the District 1/Mullens areas commission seat on the ballot. He will be challenged by Eugene McMillion.
Micheal Cochrane is unopposed in his bid to keep the prosecuting attorney office.
Sheriff Randy Brooks is filling the remaining year in the unexpired term of C.S. Parker, who passed away Dec. 24.
Chief Deputy Brad Ellison filed for sheriff. Ellison turned down the county Commission’s appointment for sheriff in order to run for the office and serve a full four-year term rather than fill the one-year unexpired term.
Sefton Stewart filed to keep the county surveyor office. He is also unchallenged.
Edsel Ray Lafferty and Fred Halsey both filed for the soil conservation office.
The three current magistrates include Jeff Barlow, J.R. Boles, and Donald “Craig” Cook. Magistrates are non-partisan offices.
Boles will retire at the end of his term Dec. 31.
Based on state law, magistrates have been assigned a “division” by the circuit judge. The divisions were created “randomly and equitably” and are not based on population or residence.
Boles is Division 1; Cook, Division 2; and Barlow, Division 3.
Candidates can decide which magistrate to run against when filing since the divisions are not based on residence/address. The top vote-getter in each division is determined to be the winner, according to state code.
Roger Snow and Jeff Dunigon filed for the Division 1 magistrate seat left vacant by Boles’ retirement.
The two board of education seats on the separate non-partisan ballot are currently held by Betty England, District 2/Pineville areas, and Mike Prichard, District 1/Mullens areas.
Both filed for re-election.
David Thompson, Verdis Wall, and Ritchie Walker, all District 2 residents, filed and Nathan England, District 1, also filed.
A maximum of two board of education members from a single district may hold office.
Remaining board members include Morgan K. “Mike” Davis (District 1/Mullens areas), Allan R. Stiltner (District 2/Pineville areas), and Douglas E. Lester (District 3/Oceana areas).
Those elected in the May 12 board of education election will take office July 1.