Saturday, February 27, 2021

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Graham, NC 27253
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GOP to decide on new county commissioner tonight

The county’s Republican Party leaders will gather electronically tonight – via a Zoom online conference call – to decide who should be the newest member of the board of commissioners.

The vacancy took effect January 1, when Amy Scott Galey, who had served most of the past three years as the board’s chairman, resigned in order to take her seat in the N.C. state senate. She was elected in November.

The executive committee of the county party will meet tonight at 7:00 to select someone to fill out the remaining two years of Galey’s term.

The number of prospective candidates has been whittled down to six, from the nine who had originally expressed interest. Three who had originally expressed an interest to serve have now withdrawn from consideration.

Ben York, the party chairman, said that an electronic version of a secret ballot will be available for the committee members, who number about 45, to use. It is a process first pioneered at the state party’s convention in 2020, York described.

The candidates include two men named Turner and two with the surname Williams.

The remaining candidates in contention include local attorney Craig Turner, who currently serves as the local party’s first vice chairman;

Craig Turner

Robert Turner, the co-owner of ACE Speedway in Altamahaw;

retired brigadier general Blake Williams, who also serves as the vice chairman of ACC’s trustees and placed fifth in last year’s GOP primary for the three available seats;

Blake Williams, a member of the community college board of trustees, was an unsuccessful Republican candidate in the GOP primary in 2020.

and Paul Williams a retired Alamance County EMT.

Also vying for the position are: Green Level councilman Michael Trollinger;

Green Level town councilman Michael Trollinger

and Henry Vines, a farmer from Snow Camp and a veteran of several commissioner races who defected from the Democratic Party to join the GOP after his defeat in the Democratic primary last March.

Henry Vines, a former Democrat who lost that party’s primary in March to more liberal competitors, has since become a registered Republican and is now seeking the appointment to Alamance County’s board of commissioners.

Those who have opted out since originally expressing an interest to serve are: Burlington planning board member James Kirkpatrick who placed fourth in last year’s GOP primary for the three available seats on last year’s ballot; long-time Republican Roger Parker, who briefly served on the board of commissioners after the party tapped him for another vacant position in 2016; and Chuck Marsh with Maverick Radio.

Under party rules, each prospective candidate must be nominated at the online meeting by one of the 45 committee members.

York has previously explained that the committee will forgo any nominating speeches that evening, although each nominee will have an opportunity to address the group before the vote takes place.

York added that, in the event that no candidate wins a majority of the votes on the first ballot, the committee will hold a runoff between the top two vote getters from the first round.

The winner will join the four current members of the board of commissioners, all Republicans: chairman John Paisley, vice chairman Steve Carter, and commissioners Bill Lashley and Pamela Tyler Thompson. Paisley, Lashley, and Thompson were elected in November.
Under North Carolina law, the commissioners are required to appoint the designee selected by the same party of the person whose departure created the vacancy; Galey is a Republican.

[Editor’s Note: readers should check the newspaper’s website, alamancenews.com, on Thursday night to find who was selected.]

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