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11 file for Congress, eight for School Board; NC House seats get primaries

Eleven candidates have filed for the 11th Congressional District, including incumbent Madison Cawthorn, and the Henderson County School Board field stands at eight with three days to go in qualifying for the 2022 elections. New filings this week also ensured Republican primaries in the two state House seats in Henderson County.

Cawthorn had announced in November that he would move down the mountain to run in a newly drawn seat. The N.C. Supreme Court decision last week to erase the deep-red seat led the freshman lightning rod to announce on Monday that he is staying put.

“I am excited to run for reelection in North Carolina’s newly solidified 11th congressional district and represent nearly all of my current constituents in the 118th Congress,” he said in a news release. “The counties I had previously lost in redistricting are now included in the new maps that will be used in the 2022 election cycle, and today, I filed to represent them again. Western North Carolinians want a fighter in Congress. With their support, I look forward to returning to Washington as a sophomore member and helping enact major change with a historic Republican majority.”

Fellow Republican Matthew Burril of Fletcher was the only 11th Congressional District candidate to react publicly to Cawthorn’s announcement.

“Today’s press release by Madison Cawthorn is not a surprise,” he said. “His voice and courage resonated with me in the 2020 election as it did with many voters in Western North Carolina. I will remain the conservative, Christian, business candidate for the Republican nomination for the 11th District US House of Representatives. Our western counties are ready for local and reliable leadership in Washington.”

The state Supreme Court ordered filing to be reopened Feb. 24 after approving legislative maps drawn by the General Assembly and a new congressional map drafted by a court-appointed special master.

In addition to Cawthorn and Burril, candidates for the 11th Congressional District seat are Democrats Katie Dean of Swannanoa, Bo Hess of Asheville and Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, a Buncombe County commissioner; Libertarian David Adam Coatney of Fletcher and Republicans Bruce O’Connell of Candler, Wendy Marie-Limbaugh Nevarez of Asheville, Chuck Edwards of Flat Rock, Michelle V. Woodhouse of Hendersonville and Rod Honeycutt of Alexander.

Meanwhile, Shelia Dale joined seven candidates who filed last week for election to the Henderson County School Board, including incumbents Jay Egolf and Dot Case and challengers Mary Ellen Kustin, Aaron Purcell, Alyssa Norman, Heather Sowry Ray and Vance McCraw. Incumbent Amy Lynn Holt, whose term expires, filed to run against County Commissioner Michael Edney. Qualifying for federal, state and local offices ends at noon Friday.

Republican primaries are ensured in two state House seats. Chelsea Walsh, the former Republican Party chair who filed for the House District 117 seat on Dec. 7, drew an opponent when Dennis Justice filed for the seat on Monday. And House District 113 incumbent Jake Johnson now has a primary opponent, David Rogers of Rutherfordton.

Here are candidate filings through Monday:

  • State Senate District 48: State Rep. Tim Moffitt, R.
  • House District 113: State Rep. Jake Johnson, R, David Rogers, R.
  • House District 117: Chelsea Walsh, R, Dennis Justice, R.
  • New 29B District Court judge seat: Jason R. Hayes, R, Abe Hudson, R.
  • Henderson County District attorney: Andrew Murray, R, Mary Ann J. Hollocker, R.
  • Henderson County Board of Commissioners District 1: Michael Edney, R, Amy Lynn Holt, R.
  • Henderson County Board of Commissioners District 3: Bill Lapsley, R.
  • Henderson County Board of Commissioners District 4: Rebecca McCall, R.
  • Henderson County Clerk of Superior Court: J. Tyler Ray, R.
  • Henderson County Register of Deeds: William Lee King, R.
  • Henderson County Sheriff: Lowell Griffin, R.

In addition to approving new legislative and congressional maps on Feb. 23, the N.C. Supreme Court ordered the primary moved to May 17. Even that date could be imperiled if Republican leaders of the General Assembly prevail in their challenge of the congressional map.

“Today’s ruling is nothing short of egregious,” House Speaker Tim Moore said in a statement last week. “The trial court’s decision to impose a map drawn by anyone other than the legislature is simply unconstitutional and an affront to every North Carolina voter whose representation would be determined by unelected, partisan activists.”