ALBEMARLE — Even setting aside the U.S. presidential race, the governor’s race and the U.S. Senate race, because those are national and statewide races which are getting the bulk of the coverage, Stanly County residents still have a number of important elections to consider over the next couple weeks. To make the process of choosing a bit easier, a few of the main races are broken down below.
U.S. Congress: Stanly County is part of North Carolina’s Eighth Congressional District, along with parts of Cumberland and Rowan counties, and all of Cabarrus, Montgomery, Moore and Hoke counties. The seat is one of the most hotly contested among N.C. congressional districts. At the moment, the Cook Political Report says the Eighth District “leans Republican,” but polls show a very tight race.
Republican Rep. Richard Hudson of Concord has held the seat since 2012. Hudson’s focus, according to his website, is reducing health care costs, serving veterans and the military community in Fort Bragg (which is in the district), cutting spending, creating jobs and protecting life.
Hudson’s challenger this cycle is Democratic Judge Patricia Timmons-Goodson. Goodson was a N.C. Supreme Court associate justice from 2006 to 2012. President Barack Obama appointed Goodson to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, where she still serves as vice chair. According to her website, issues Goodson is running on include expanding Medicaid, protecting a women’s right to abortion, instituting a federal “public option” in health care, creating jobs with environmental projects and fighting climate change.
N.C. General Assembly: Stanly County is represented by three state legislative seats — one in the Senate and two in the House. The state Senate seat, NC S-33, is held by two-term Republican incumbent Sen. Carl Ford. Ford sits on the Transportation, Health Care and numerous other influential committees. His opponent is Democrat Tarsha Ellis. The seat, however, is not considered competitive, with Civitas, a Raleigh think tank, rating it as an R+10, meaning Republicans have an average 10% advantage in races there.
Of the two state House seats, one, NC H-67, is held by a Republican, Rep. Wayne Sasser, and the other, HD-66, is held by a Democrat, Rep. Scott Brewer. NC H-67 includes parts of Stanly and Cabarrus counties and is not competitive. Sasser doesn’t have a challenger, and Civitas rates the district as an R+25. Sasser, a pharmacist by profession, has represented the district since 2019.
Most observers agree that in the other district, NC H-66, which represents parts of Montgomery, Richmond and Stanly counties, Brewer is likely to lose the race to his Republican challenger, Ben Moss. FlipNC, a non-profit that aims to help Democrats flip Republican-held seats, lists NC H-66 as Democrats’ “most difficult to hold” state House seat, rating it as an R+10.
County commission: Stanly County Board of Commission members are elected to four-year terms, but not all commissioners have their terms expire the same year. The board is represented by seven Republicans at the moment: Chairman Matthew Swain, Vice Chairman Ashley Morgan and Commissioners Lane Furr, Mike Barbee, Bill Lawhon, Tommy Jordan and Zachary Almond. Five of these seats are from districts and two are “at large,” meaning the entire county can vote in the race. In 2020, only two of these seven terms expire — Swain’s and Morgan’s.
Morgan lost a Republican primary race to Peter Asciutto, who will now face unaffiliated Eric Johnsen for the Fifth District seat. Scott Efird won a Republican primary in the spring to replace Swain in the at-large seat and faces no opposition.
There are also important judicial, mayoral, town council, board of education and many other races for Stanly County voters to weigh-in on. More detailed information on these can be gained through the Democratic and Republican Party leadership of Stanly County and the board of elections.