As filing begins for 2018 election, Commissioner Pierce files with two years left on term

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 13, 2018

SALISBURY — Monday was the first day for candidates to file to run for a number of local offices, and Rowan County Commissioner Craig Pierce — whose term is not up for another two years — took advantage.

Pierce, who is serving his second term, said he doesn’t want to wait until his term is up in 2020 to run for another four years.

“What I really need is the extra two years to get this thing done,” Pierce said Monday.

That “thing” is the expansion of water and sewer service down the Interstate 85 corridor.

Pierce said that when he first ran for the board in 2012, he promised voters that he would get the expansion of the infrastructure finished.

“I made a commitment, and I want to see it through,” Pierce said. “And you may say, ‘Well, you’ve got until 2020.’ But it won’t happen by 2020.”

Pierce said he thinks the project could be done by 2022.

He said that if he is elected this year, he will not run again in 2022.

“I’m done after that. For any public office. I have no aspirations to go to Raleigh and definitely not D.C.,” Pierce said.

If Pierce were to win a seat, it would mean that one of the board’s incumbents running for re-election — Judy Klusman, Greg Edds or Jim Greene — would lose his or her seat.

“Yes, it’s very unusual, but it’s legal,” said Nancy Evans, director of the Rowan County Board of Elections.

Evans said Pierce had discussed the issue with a member of her staff before he filed Monday.

Years ago, candidates were required to resign from office to run for another term, Evans said, but “resign to run” was ruled unconstitutional.

If Pierce wins a new four-year term, he would have to resign from the seat that has two more years left, Evans said. After taking recommendations from the majority party — the Republicans — the commissioners would appoint someone to serve the rest of that term.

As of 5 p.m. Monday, five people had filed for the Rowan County Board of Commissioners, two people filed for legislative seats, one person filed for clerk of Superior Court, one filed for register of deeds and one filed for sheriff.

The candidates so far are:

• Carl Ford, 59, is running for a state Senate seat representing District 33. He will finish his third term in the state House this year. He lives in China Grove and is a Republican.

• Harry Warren, 67, is running for a seat in the N.C. House representing District 76. He is serving his fourth term and currently represents District 77. He lives in Salisbury and is a Republican.

• Craig Pierce, 62, is running for another term on the Rowan County Board of Commissioners. He has served two terms on the board. He lives in Salisbury and is a Republican.

• Michael Julian, 53, is running for a seat on the Board of Commissioners. He ran for the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education in 2016. He is the shipping and receiving manager for Packaging Corporation of America. He lives in Salisbury and is a Republican.

• Greg Edds is running for his second term on the Board of Commissioners, of which he is currently the chairman. He lives in Salisbury. He is a Republican and a former chairman of the Rowan County Republican Party.

• Judy Klusman is running for her second term on the Board of Commissioners. She previously served 12 years as a Wisconsin state legislator and is a Republican. She lives in Salisbury.

• Jim Greene, 70, is running for his second term on the Board of Commissioners, of which he is currently the vice chairman. He lives in Cleveland and is a Republican.

• Jeff Barger is running for clerk of Superior Court. He has held the position for the past 20 years and is a Democrat. He lives in Salisbury.

• John Brindle, 45, is running for register of deeds, a job he has held for six years — from 2008 to 2010 and from 2014 to the present. He has worked with the county for 22 years. He lives in Gold Hill and is a Republican.

• Kevin Auten, 57, is running for re-election as sheriff. He has been sheriff for nine years and is a Republican. He lives in Salisbury.

Filing opened at noon Monday and will end at noon Feb. 28.

Offices on the ballot are clerk of court, register of deeds, sheriff, county commissioner, N.C. Senate, N.C. House, Kannapolis Board of Education, district attorney and Congress.

People interested in running for district attorney or Congress must file in Raleigh.

Those interested in any of the other available offices can file at the Rowan County Board of Elections, 1935 Jake Alexander Blvd. in Suite D10.

Filing fees for those offices are:

• $998.34 for clerk of court.

• $605.45 for register of deeds.

• $851.92 for sheriff.

• $131.82 for county commissioner.

• $207 for N.C. Senate and N.C. House.

• $5 for Kannapolis Board of Education.

• $1,282 for district attorney.

• $1,740 for Congress.

A primary will be held May 8 and the general election will be Nov. 6.

For more information, call the Rowan County Board of Elections at 704-216-8140.

Contact reporter Jessica Coates at 704-797-4222.