Miller, Caskey get multiple endorsements from primary opponents
By Karissa Minn
SALISBURY — As the July 17 runoff inches closer, Republican candidates for Rowan County commissioner are collecting endorsements from their former opponents.
Gene Miller has gained the support of three primary candidates, and Mike Caskey has been endorsed by two. Craig Pierce and Gus Andrews each have picked up at least one endorsement.
Andrews and Miller had the highest number of votes in the May 8 primary for two open county commissioner seats. The next two finishers, Caskey and Pierce, both received enough votes to call for a runoff.
Miller, assistant superintendent at Rowan-Salisbury Schools, announced Wednesday that Laura Eller Hutchison, Carl Dangerfield and Joel Johnson have all endorsed him. He said they all agree that the Board of Commissioners should make economic recovery its top priority.
“I want to personally thank Laura, Carl and Joel for joining together with me to express our desire for a Rowan County government that is more professional and more responsive to the needs of its citizens than it has been in the past,” Miller said in an emailed press release.
Johnson said Wednesday that he has also endorsed Andrews, who previously served on the board as chairman.
“I have chosen to endorse Gene Miller and Gus Andrews because they have both committed to ensuring the county employees are compensated fairly,” Johnson said. “They have both also committed to ensuring the citizens are protected by adequately-staffed emergency services, and have both stated they will meet whatever needs arise.”
Dangerfield also said he’s supporting Miller because of his goal to give county employees fair pay without a tax increase.
“We share a lot of the same values, but that one position was what sealed the deal,” Dangerfield said Thursday. He added that he likes Caskey’s “conservative Republican approach all the way around.”
Mac Butner said he “wholeheartedly, enthusiastically and without reservation” endorses Caskey and Pierce in the runoff.
“Gus Andrews and Gene Miller are Democrats, as far as I’m concerned, in Republican clothing,” Butner said. “The only two conservatives in the race are Mike Caskey and Craig Pierce.”
Caskey, a patrol officer and member of the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education, said he appreciates the support of his former opponents.
“I hope they stay involved with the process, and maybe they’ll run again one day and I can return the favor,” he said.
Andrews said Wednesday he hasn’t been seeking endorsements while he takes a little break from campaigning.
“I feel like I had a good endorsement in the primary election from the citizens of the county,” he said.
Bill Feather, another former contender in the Republican primary, said he isn’t endorsing any candidates for county commissioner. He said he doesn’t want to take sides given his position as a Granite Quarry board member.
Pierce, who owns Pierce Interiors and Construction, and Hutchison did not return calls for comment Thursday.
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.
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