Candidate pool in local races grows before NC Supreme Court stops filing

Published 6:44 pm Wednesday, December 8, 2021

By Natalie Anderson

SALISBURY — A handful of locals added their names to the Rowan County sheriff’s and commissioners races just before the North Carolina Supreme Court suspended all candidate filing Wednesday evening.

Angie Spillman, a Republican, filed for election to one of the three seats up for grabs on the Rowan County Board of Commissioners. She will compete against Greg Edds, Judy Klusman and Jim Greene, the three Republicans up for re-election. The lone Democrat challenger is Alisha Byrd-Clark, who was re-elected to the Rowan-Salisbury Schools Board of Education in 2020.

Simon Brown, a Democrat from Salisbury, joined the sheriff’s race. Former state trooper Carlton Killian is the other Democrat who has declared a run for the sheriff’s race so far.

The other five candidates are all Republicans, including former state trooper and current school resource officer Tommie Cato, trucking company operator Jack Eller, Rowan County Commissioner and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officer Mike Caskey, sheriff’s office investigator Travis Allen and Greg Hannold, a captain with the sheriff’s department who oversees the jail.

District Attorney Brandy Cook, a Republican, filed Wednesday for re-election, and no one else has filed yet. Salisbury attorney and Republican Lauren Hoben as well as incumbent James Randolph, a Republican, have filed for re-election to Rowan County District Court.

A woman named Cynthia Dry, a longtime Child Protective Services attorney and former assistant district attorney, announced her candidacy, but she hadn’t yet filed for office by the end of the day on Wednesday.

Incumbent Republican Tim Gould has filed for superior court judge.

State Reps. Harry Warren and Julia Howard, along with Sen. Carl Ford, previously filed for re-election to House District 76, House District 77 and Senate District 33, respectively. All three are Republican incumbents. Additionally, Republican Grant Campbell from Concord has filed for election to District 83, a new district that will include the southwestern portion of Rowan County in 2022.

Rep. Richard Hudson, a Republican, filed for North Carolina’s newly redrawn 10th Congressional district, which will include Rowan County.

A Democrat familiar to Rowan County voters joined the U.S. Senate race Wednesday. Constance “Lov” Johnson, a Democrat who has made unsuccessful bids for Salisbury City Council, Rowan-Salisbury Schools Board of Education and N.C. Senate, filed for U.S. Senate. She’s joined by Republicans Benjamin E. Griffiths from Cleveland, Lee Brian from Clayton, Lichia Sibhatu from Raleigh, Jen Banwart from Fuquay Varina and Charles Kenneth Moss from Randleman. Rett Newton from Beaufort is the only other Democrat who has filed for U.S. Senate as of Wednesday.

After filing closed for the day on Wednesday, the North Carolina Supreme Court suspended all filing and pushed back the date of the primary election from March 8 to May 17 due to an ongoing lawsuit alleging partisan gerrymandering with the newly adopted district boundaries. The N.C. Board of Elections said there will be a new filing period, but those dates have not been set. All candidates who filed as of Wednesday “will be deemed to have filed for the same office,” according to the court order.

Other candidates who have filed include:

North Carolina Supreme Court (two seats)

• Lucy Inman, a Democrat from Raleigh

• Richard Dietz, a Republican from Raleigh who currently sits on the North Carolina Court of Appeals

• April Wood, a Republican from Lexington who won election to the N.C. Court of Appeals in 2020

• Sam J. Ervin IV, a Democrat from Morganton

• Trey Allen, a Republican from Hillsborough who currently serves as general counsel of the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Court

North Carolina Court of Appeals (four seats)

• Julie Tate Flood, a Republican from Holly Springs who’s seeking seat 8

• Beth Freshwater-Smith, a Republican from Wilson who’s seeking seat 9

• Donna Stroud, the incumbent Republican from Garner who’s seeking seat 9

• Gale Murray Adams, a Democrat from Fayetteville who’s seeking seat 10

• John M. Tyson, the incumbent Republican from Fayetteville who’s seeking seat 10

• Darren Jackson, a Democrat from Raleigh who’s seeking seat 11

• Michael J. Stading, a Republican from Mecklenburg who’s seeking seat 11

For questions about filing for office, contact the Rowan County Board of Elections at 704-216-8140 or visit its website at

About Natalie Anderson

Natalie Anderson covers the city of Salisbury, politics and more for the Salisbury Post. She joined the staff in January 2020 after graduating from Louisiana State University, where she was editor of The Reveille newspaper. Email her at or call her at 704-797-4246.

email author More by Natalie