Candidate filing for local and state elections in 2020 begins at noon Monday, with the majority of the Wilkes County commissioner and Wilkes Board of Education seats among those on the ballots.

The filing period continues through Dec. 20 at the Wilkes Board of Elections office in the Wilkes County Office Building in Wilkesboro. Party primaries and the school board election are March 3 and the general election is Nov. 3. There are no Wilkes school board primaries because the races are non-partisan.

With an incumbent District Court judge in the 23rd Judicial District (Wilkes, Ashe, Yadkin and Alleghany counties) not planning to seek re-election, two people said they will run for that position.

One of three Wilkes school board members up for reelection doesn’t plan to run and another is undecided. Three newcomers, all Republicans, are among those planning to run for three county commissioner seats on the ballots.

One Democrat considering running for a local office didn’t wish to be mentioned by name. Local Democratic leaders said they weren’t aware of any other Democrats in Wilkes considering filing for local or state offices.

State and local races on the ballots in 2020 are:

• three of the five seats on the Wilkes County Board of Commissioners, four-year terms, $65 filing fee;

• three of the five seats on the Wilkes County Board of Education, four-year terms, $48 filing fee;

• Wilkes register of deeds, four-year term, $477 filing fee;

• one District Court judge’s seat, four-year term, $1,120 filing fee;

• the 94th House, 90th House and 45th Senate district seats, two-year terms, $140 filing fees;

• governor, four-year term, $1,510 filing fee;

• all N.C. council of state positions, including lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, commissioner of agriculture, commissioner of insurance, commissioner of labor, superintendent of public instruction, state treasurer and state auditor. All four-year terms. The filing fee is $1,334 for each;

• N.C. Supreme Court associate justice, eight-year term, $1,528 filing fee;

• N.C. Supreme Court chief justice, eight-year term, $1,569;

Wilkes Board of Education

Darren Shumate of Hays, a clinical home health specialist in his second term on the Wilkes Board of Education, said Wednesday that he will not run for re-election in 2020.

Kirk Walker of Hays, another of the incumbents, said he will seek re-election to his second term. Walker owns an auto repair business.

Leslie Barnes of Moravian Falls, the third incumbent finishing a term, said she is undecided about seeking reelection. Barnes is a retired Wilkes County public school teacher.

The Wilkes Journal-Patriot hasn’t been made aware of anyone else who has decided to run for one of the three school board seats on the ballot.

County commissioner

The three commissioners up for re-election are Republicans Keith Elmore (current chairman) of Roaring River, who manages a car wash; Eddie Settle of Pleasant Hill, who owns a printing business and also farms; and Gary D. Blevins of Wilkesboro, who owns a landscaping business. Blevins is in his third term.

Elmore and Settle said they will seek re-election to their fifth and third terms respectively. Blevins said he preferred to not comment on his plans until after the filing period opens.

Three other Republicans said this week that they would file as candidates for county commissioner, which means there will be a GOP primary. They are Ralph Broyhill of Millers Creek, Casey Joe Johnson of North Wilkesboro and Bill Sexton of Hays.

Broyhill retired as Wilkes veterans service officer in late 2018 and stepped down as Wilkes GOP chairman early this year. Johnson is a fifth-grade teacher at Mountain View Elementary School. Sexton is retired from Wilkes Emergency Medical Services and is active in the Mountain View Fire Department.

Register of deeds

There will also be a GOP primary in the Wilkes register of deeds race.

Incumbent Misty Smithey of Wilkesboro said last week that she will seek re-election to her second term as Wilkes register of deeds. She is a Republican.

Republican Brian Minton of Wilkesboro, in his first year as a Wilkes County commissioner, said he will run for Wilkes register of deeds in 2020. Minton is a Realtor.

District Court judge

Judge Jeanie Houston of Hamptonville, a District Court judge in the 23rd Judicial District (Wilkes, Ashe, Yadkin and Alleghany counties), is up for re-election in 2020. Houston said Wednesday that she won’t seek re-election. The Republican was appointed in August 1997 when an additional District Court judgeship was created and was first elected in 2000. Prior to that she was an assistant district attorney locally for about 10 years. Houston said she plans to pursue other interests.

Matthew Leach of Wilkesboro, an assistant district attorney, and Donna Shumate of Sparta, an attorney, both said Wednesday that they will file for the judgeship being vacated by Houston. Shumate lost in a close race with Robert “Rob” Crumpton for an open District Court judgeship in the 23rd District in 2014.

Leach and Shumate are both Republicans, which means there will be a GOP primary in this race.

North Carolina’s judicial elections became partisan in 2018, which means party affiliation is listed with candidates on the ballots. They had been partisan until Superior Court elections were switched to nonpartisan in 1996, and District Court elections in 2001.

State House and Senate

Republican Rep. Jeffrey Elmore of Wilkesboro said he will seek re-election to his fifth term as representative for the 94th House District, which includes parts of Wilkes and Alexander counties. Elmore is a Wilkes elementary school art teacher.

Republican Rep. Sarah Stevens of Mount Airy said she will file to run for her sixth term. Stevens, an attorney, represents the 90th House District (Alleghany and parts of Wilkes and Surry counties).

Republican Sen. Deanna Ballard of Blowing Rock said she will file for re-election to represent the 45th Senate District. She was appointed to fill an unexpired term in April 2016 and was elected in 2018. Ballard works for Samaritan’s Purse in Boone.

More on filing

Once a person has filed as a candidate, the deadline to withdraw a notice of candidacy is 5 p.m. Dec. 17.

Kim Caudill, Wilkes Board of Elections director, said people filing for county or legislative offices must file notices of candidacy with the county board of elections office in their county of residency.

She said that to file as candidate for a party primary, a person must have been affiliated with that party for at least 90 days prior to filing a notice of candidacy.

A person registered as “unaffiliated” isn’t eligible to file as a candidate for a party primary.

More information is available at the Wilkes Board of Elections at

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