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New names among candidates filing for 2018 elections

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Sara Beth Fulford Rhodes files for re-election for Clerk of Court as the filing for the 2018 elections begins at the Board of Elections Monday, Feb. 12, 2018.


By Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector

Monday, February 12, 2018

Pitt County had 19 people file in more than a dozen congressional, state and local races the first day of filing for the 2018 elections, including a previously unannounced candidate for sheriff.

Randy Mitchell filed as a Republican candidate in the Pitt County Sheriff’s race. Also filing today were Pitt County Sheriff’s Office Major Paula Dance and Tony Williams, captain of investigations in the sheriff’s office. Both are Democrats.

Mitchell served 20 years in the U.S. Navy as a Fleet Marine Force medic. He then worked 7½ years at the detention center where he was a pre-booking deputy before leaving last year.

“I’ve seen the way things had been running but being on the low end of the totem pole, so to speak, you can talk but you may or may not be listened to,” Mitchell said. He talked it over with his wife and wanted to come back and make a change for the better.

“We need a better transparency with people in the community. We have to be transparent with citizens but we also have to be transparent within the agency No hidden agendas, no hidden issues,” Mitchell said. He believes in giving people all the information that is available and “let them make their own informed decisions.”

This is Mitchell’s first time seeking elected office.

It is also the first time Dance and Williams, both veteran law enforcement officers, have run for office.

“Rising through the ranks in the sheriff’s office has given me a great perspective of the job and duties we need in a sheriff,” Williams said in a written news release. “I am going to go out and talk with the voters. I want to be a sheriff that listens and works with the people and the various communities that make up our great county.”

Williams said he is taking a leave of absence during the campaign.

“We want to engage the people of Pitt County. The courthouse belongs to the people and I want as many people involved and let them feel like they are personally involved in this campaign,” Williams said.

“I want people to look past the obvious things about me I am a woman, I am a black woman. I want people to understand that women are in law enforcement and we answer the same calls, we made the same decisions and we put our lives on the line too. So why not lead the department,” Dance said.

The promotion of community policing is Dance’s biggest goal.

“Our community needs to be bonded together,” she said. “The community has to do its share, we’ve going to do our share and we and going to see if we can’t meet in the middle and make this a good, safe community for everyone.”

Another newcomer is Greenville attorney Mike Fitzpatrick, who filed as a Republican candidate for the Pitt County Board of Commissioners District 5 seat.

“I feel like this would be a great opportunity. I look forward to serving the citizens of Pitt County and continuing to build upon the hard work and legacy and hard work of Mr. Jimmy Garris (who is retiring from the seat),” Fitzpatrick said.

“Right now Pitt County is kind of at a critical stage,” he said. “(It is) growing at an exponential rate and I think with proper planning we can only further assist that.”

Fitzpatrick said current Commissioner Glen Webb and Greenville Mayor B.J. Connelly and others are doing a great job on economic development, and he wants to move forward with the vision they have for Greenville and Pitt County.

Commissioner Ann Floyd Huggins, who was appointed last year to fill the unexpired term of David Hammond in District 1, filed to run for the seat today.

“I was appointed because I wanted to serve the citizens of Pitt County and I want to continue to serve them, so I will offer myself to the citizens of District 1,” Huggins, a Democrat, said in an earlier interview.

Incumbent commissioners Mary Perkins-Williams, a Democrat representing District 2, and Glen Webb, a Republican representing District 6, filed for re-election on Monday.

A previous candidate for county commissioner also filed. Benji Holloman is a Republican candidate for the board’s District 4 seat.

“I want to give an extra voice for the people,” he said. “I had a lot of telephone calls and support asking me to run for it again.”

This is Holloman’s second time running for District 4, which currently is represented by Mark Owens Jr. In 2012 and 2016 Holloman ran as the Republican candidate in District C, which is represented by Beth Ward.

Incumbent Pitt County Clerk of Superior Court Sara Beth Fulford Rhodes, a Democrat, also filed for re-election.

Two Republican candidates, Lee Allen and Glenn Perry, filed in the district attorney’s race.

Phil Law, a information technology project manager who served with the U.S. Marines, filed to challenge U.S. Rep. Walter Jones for the 3rd Congressional District Republican nomination.

“I think the people of eastern North Carolina deserve better. The president who is working for us every day deserves better. I can do the job and I am going to win,” Law said.

There were filings for three separate Pitt County Board of Education seats. Incumbents Robert Moore and Caroline Doherty filed for re-election to Districts 1 and 5, respectively. Levi Cannon Smith Sr. filed to run in District 5.

After seeking community input on whether he should run for the General Assembly or the Board of Commissioners, Winterville Councilman Tony Moore filed as a Republican candidate for State Senate District 5, challenging incumbent Democrat Don Davis, who announced earlier he was seeking re-election.

“I received lots a phone calls, lots of emails of encouragement and that was the difference. The response was tremendously more for senate than commissioner,” Moore said. “It was a tremendous response.”

Greenville City Councilwoman Kandie Smith also filed as a Democratic candidate for State House District 8.

“It’s important for me to take my advocacy to a higher level,” Smith said.

Pitt County’s state legislative districts have changed because of a lawsuit that successfully challenged the constitutionality of some districts.

Along with House District 8 and House District 9, which are located solely in Pitt County, the southern portion of the county is now part of House District 12, which also includes all of Lenoir County.

Democratic incumbent George Graham of Kinston filed Monday along with a Republican challenger, Chris Humphrey. Details about Humphrey were not immediately available Monday evening.

Contact Ginger Livingston at glivingston@reflector.com or 252-329-9570. Follow her on Twitter @GingerLGDR.


Candidate List 


3rd Congressional District

Phil Law - Republican

General Assembly 

N.C. Senate District 5

Tony Moore - Republican

N.C. House District 8

Kandie Smith - Democrat

N.C. House District 12

George Graham (I) - Democrat

Chris Humphrey - Republican

Board of Commissioners

District 1

Ann Floyd Huggins - Democrat

District 2

Mary Perkins-Williams (I) - Democrat

District 4

Benji Holloman - Republican

District 5

Mike Fitzpatrick - Republican

District 6

Glen Webb (I) - Republican

District Attorney

Lee Allen - Republican

Glenn Perry - Republican

Clerk of Court

Sara Beth Fulford Rhodes (I) - Democrat


Paula Dance - Democrat

Tony Williams - Democrat

Randy Mitchell - Republican

Board of Education

District 1

Robert Moore (I)

District 5

Levi C. Smith Sr.

District 7

Caroline Doherty (I)