By Dave Russell and Jim Buchanan


The sample ballot for the March 3 primary election is due sometime around Jan. 13 and would be longer than a pharmacy store receipt.

Filing for most federal, state and local offices closed at noon Friday with a flurry of activity.

Three candidates have filed for two Jackson County Board of Education seats. In District 1, incumbent Elizabeth Cooper faces a challenge from Shane Danner. In District 3 incumbent Wes Jamison is running unopposed.

The school board races are nonpartisan, and will be decided with the March 3 vote.

Four candidates filed for the Jackson County Board of Commissioners District 3 seat: Democrats Brad Stillwell, Susan Bogardus and Cody Lewis and Republican Tom Stribling. In District 4, former commissioner Mark Jones, a Democrat, and Republican Mark Letson filed as candidates.

District 4 incumbent Republican commissioner Mickey Luker did not file for re-election. District 3 incumbent Ron Mau, also a Republican, is running for the N.C. House 119 seat.

Also running for the 119 seat is Mike Clampitt of Swain County, who has been the Republican candidate facing Joe Sam Queen for the seat in the last four elections.

Queen, a Democrat from Haywood County, is the incumbent and is seeking another term. He bested Clampitt in three of their four House contests; prior to serving in the House he served three terms in the N.C. Senate.

GOP state Sen. Jim Davis is not seeking that office again, but is running for Congress, which will lead to a new face in N.C. State Senate District 50. State Rep. Kevin Corbin of Macon County is seeking the GOP nomination for the seat, as is Sarah Conway from Highlands. Victoria Fox, of Haywood County, has filed as a Democrat.

Beyond the local races, the ballot will be crowded, with a lot of that activity spurred by the announcement from four-term 11th Congressional District incumbent Mark Meadows, a Republican, that he wouldn’t seek re-election. The announcement, coming barely a day before the end of filing, sparked a flood of GOP hopefuls vying for the seat. All told, the race will have 11 Republicans, including Davis, four Democrats, one Green Party candidate and one Libertarian Party candidate.

Three District Court 30 judgeships are open. The incumbents – Democrat Monica Leslie and Republican Tessa Sellers – run unopposed. Four Republicans – Kaleb Wingate, Jim Moore, Rich Cassady and Mitch Brewer – have filed for the District Court seat held by the retiring Rick Walker. Democrat Justin Greene has also filed and will be unopposed in the primary.

Three seats on the state Supreme Court are open, and 11 hopefuls have filed for five Court of Appeals seats. The races will not be featured in the primary and will be on the Nov. ballot.

North Carolina uses a semi-closed primary system, meaning a voter must be registered with a party to vote in that party’s primary. However, parties have allowed Unaffiliated voters to cast ballots in their primaries since the 1990s. An Unafilliated voter can only vote in one party’s primary.

There will be two Constitution Party candidates for U.S. President on North Carolina ballots; 15 Democratic candidates; one Green Party candidate; 16 Libertarian candidates; and three Republican candidates.

That last number changed on Friday due to a move by the N.C. Board of Elections. The North Carolina Republican Party submitted only one candidate, President Donald Trump, to the board. North Carolina law allows the state board to add the names of other candidates if they’re generally recognized, and that board – comprised of three Democrats and two Republicans – voted unanimously to add former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh to the list of GOP choices.

Jackson voters will also cast ballots in races for U.S. Senate; governor; the Council of State, which includes the offices of lieutenant governor, attorney general, auditor, commissioner of agriculture, commissioner of insurance, commissioner of labor, secretary of state, superintendent of public instruction and treasurer.