Sep 25's Weather
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Snow could not stay candidates from their appointed round on Monday.
As a steady snow fell outside, candidates lined up 45 minutes early to officially open their campaign for office on the first day of filing and continued throughout the day.
Elections Board Chair Bob Heltman stood a few feet from where Elections Director Beverly Cunningham was receiving paperwork from Sheriff Charlie McDonald while several other candidates waited their turn.
"I wanted to see what's cooking," Heltman said. "I'm delighted to see the turnout in spite of the weather. I'm just very pleased for Henderson County."
State Highway Patrol trooper Michael Brown, wearing a suit, waited to pay his filing fee and submit paperwork for his third run for sheriff. The son and grandson of sheriff's deputies, Brown ran in 2002 and 2006.
"I think we're doing well," he said. "The people are paying attention. They're going to look at the issues this time. We've got an interim sheriff that was appointed and not elected. We're going to let the voters decide who is going to lead the county law enforcement."
The man Brown hopes to unseat said he would run on his department's work to make personnel accountable and recruit high-quality deputies and on the force's focus on residential burglaries.
"Two years ago out of all the Republicans I was the only willing to step up when everything was a mess," he said. "We've had two years of back-breaking work and a lot of positive as a result. One of the big things is we're accountable from the leadership on down. The higher up in rank you are, the more responsible and accountable you have to be."
"For two years I have given everything I have to rebuild what was always good, to change what had failed and to make the tough calls," he said in a written statement. "The burden of leadership at this level is always difficult but it is never more so than when coming into an agency that had been failed for so long by its leadership."
McDonald was appointed sheriff in February 2012 and took office the following month, four months after Sheriff Rick Davis amid questions about why the county paid an insurance claim based on a discrimination complaint lodged by a female deputy.
Rick Wood brought the largest cheering section to the Board of Elections. He entered the office Monday morning an announced candidate for the 48th Senate District and emerged after noon as an official candidate.
Under an entryway roof that sheltered them from the snow, a crowd of supporters cheered as Wood repeated his campaign themes about schoolteacher pay, crowded classrooms and the state's rejection of federal Medicaid coverage for working families.
"This is not the North Carolina that any of us recognize," he said.
A teacher pay raise proposed Monday by Gov. Pat McCrory, he said, "is dabbling in teacher pay" in an election year. Instead, teachers need a real long-term commitment.
"Raising teacher pay and restoring their assistants and investing in higher education are priorities that will help students now," Wood said. "And in the longer term it will strengthen our economy."
Other candidate filings as of 5 p.m. Monday were: