Tuesday, December 6, 2022

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Republicans, Democrats make endorsements in non-partisan races

The leadership of Alamance County’s Republican Party has formally endorsed a slate of candidates in the ostensibly nonpartisan races for the Alamance-Burlington school board and the board of supervisors for the local soil and water conservation district.

During a regular monthly meeting on Thursday, the local party’s executive committee gave its official imprimatur to school board hopefuls Dan Ingle, Chuck Marsh, and Charles Parker. The committee also endorsed Richard (Ricky) Reid and Willie Holliday in their campaigns for the soil and water conservation district’s board of supervisors.

The executive committee, which consists of party officials, elected office holders, and candidates for the partisan posts on November’s ballot, has also made similar endorsements in previous nonpartisan races. In fact, the committee’s recommendations often served to identify the registered Republicans in these contests, where information about party affiliation doesn’t actually appear on the ballot.

This year, however, the executive committee was faced with a bit of a conundrum due to the large number of Republicans who are running for either the Alamance-Burlington school board or the board of supervisors for the water and soil conservation district.

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In the race for the school board, for instance, Parker, Ingle, and Marsh are competing against Republicans Leonard Harrison and Avery Wagoner for a trio of available seats. This six-way race also features Democrat Seneca Rogers, who made an unsuccessful bid for the school board two years ago.

Meanwhile, Holliday and Reid are seeking to become soil and water conservation supervisors alongside fellow Republican Otha C. Hawkins. Also pursuing this board’s two available seats are Democrats Donna Vanhook and Brandy Whittaker as well as unaffiliated candidate David Morrow.

Ben York, the chairman of Alamance County’s Republicans, conceded that the executive committee had previously resolved to endorse the same number of candidates in these two races as there are available seats on the ballot.

“We had that discussion at a previous executive committee meeting,” he explained in an interview Monday, “and we decided to endorse three candidates for the school board [and two for the board of supervisors].”

York noted that he and his colleagues subsequently heard from each of the Republican hopefuls during a candidate forum that preceded the committee’s secret ballot on Thursday. He added that the resulting endorsements represent a consensus view of the committee’s preferences.

“We have about 53 on our executive committee,” he said, “and we had almost all of them there at the meeting [on Thursday].”

Meanwhile, the county’s Democrats have endorsed their own candidates in both races: Seneca Rogers is the only Democrat on the ballot for the non-partisan school board race; Donna Vanhook and Brandy Whitaker have been endorsed for the Soil and Water Conservation Board.

David Morrow remains in a sort of “no man’s land” as an unaffiliated candidate not endorsed by either political party.

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