A voters’ guide to the primary

When you think about summer activities, casting a vote in the primary election might not immediately leap to mind.

But because state-level wrangling over the boundaries of legislative districts delayed the primary (usually held in the spring), that’s exactly what’s in store for North Carolina voters. This year’s primary happens Tuesday, July 20.

Local candidates will jockey for a spot on the ballot in the race for the 11th Congressional District seat, and for all five seats on the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners.

In the Democratic primary for the 11th Congressional District, Clyde Michael Morgan of Swannanoa is running against veteran Buncombe County Commissioner Patsy Keever. The winner will face incumbent Republican Rep. Charles Taylor of Brevard in the November election.

In the Board of Commissioners race, three Democrats — Ed Hay, Krishna Murphy and Don Yelton — are duking it out for a chance to unseat Republican board Chairman Nathan Ramsey, who’s unopposed in the primary.

A different dynamic is at work in the race for the remaining four seats on the board. Since Keever is giving up her seat to run for Congress, only three incumbents — Democrats David Gantt, Bill Stanley and David Young — are seeking to retain their seats. Two other Democrats, Carol Weir Peterson and Harry L. Maroni, are also competing for a crack at one of those four seats. (Democrat Pamela Paddock told Xpress she has withdrawn from the race, though her name will still appear on the ballot.)

Meanwhile, in the Republican primary, five candidates are competing for a shot at the four open seats on the Board of Commissioners: Mark Crawford, Peter Dawes, Mike Harrison, Mike Morgan and Bill Reynolds.

Buncombe County voters will also get a chance to vote in the following federal and state races:

Democratic primary: governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, commissioner of agriculture and superintendent of public instruction.

Republican primary: U.S. Senate; governor, lieutenant governor, auditor, commissioner of insurance, commissioner of labor, attorney general and superintendent of public instruction.

Nonpartisan: judge, N.C. Court of Appeals. (Judge Alan Thornburg of Asheville — appointed by Gov. Mike Easley in February — faces three challengers in his bid to retain his seat in the statewide primary.)

If a runoff is required in any of the primary races, a second primary will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 17. In addition, the filing period for a seat on the Buncombe County Board of Education runs until noon on Friday, Aug. 6 for the Nov. 2 general election.

If you forgot to register in time for the primary races (the deadline was June 25), you have until Friday, Oct. 8 to get yourself on the list of those eligible to vote in the November election.

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