Local political candidates gear up for 2022 elections

(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

ALBEMARLE — Although the 2022 primary elections have been rescheduled to May 17 by the N.C Supreme Court, many of the major political races within Stanly County have already taken shape. 

As of the filing period that was halted on Dec. 8, there have been 19 candidates that have filed among 11 local positions: N.C. House District 67; N.C. Senate District 33; five county commission seats (District 1, 2, 3,4, and at-large); two county school board seats (District 1 and at-large); sheriff and clerk of Superior Court.  

Out of the 19 registered candidates, 17 are running as Republicans while sheriff candidate Davara Ponds and clerk of Superior Court candidate Todd Lowder are running as Democrats.  

In their state General Assembly races, both Rep. Wayne Sasser (N.C. House District 67) and Sen. Carl Ford (N.C. Senate District 33) are currently running unopposed as they each seek reelection to their third terms in their respective seats after initially campaigning for them in 2018. 

With five Stanly County Board of Commissioners’ seats up for grabs, the Stanly County Freedom Network — a local conservative grassroots network that has emerged from a Facebook group with nearly 1,600 members — will look to reform the makeup of the board, with the group running three candidates for county commission positions. 

Levi Greene, Patty Crump and Thomas Townsend have each filed for that office and are campaigning together with Stanly County Board of Education candidate Meghan Almond, who will square off with incumbent Dustin Lisk for the District 1 school board seat. With an endorsement from the network, school board at-large incumbent Anthony Graves is currently running unopposed in his reelection effort. 

Greene is set to challenge Mike Haigler and incumbent Mike Barbee for the District 1 commissioner seat while Crump is running against incumbent Lane Furr for the commissioner at-large seat. Townsend will face Jon Ledbetter for the District 2 commissioner seat as incumbent, and former chairman Bill Lawhon has not yet filed for office.  

“I’m proud to stand alongside Patty Crump and Thomas Townsend to defend the liberties we all hold dear,” Greene told a crowd at a Stanly County Freedom Network campaign event on Dec. 16. “Unlike career politicians, I’m not promising to make people happy all the time. But I will, however, commit to making all decisions with my own research, thoughtful considerations and convictions.” 

As for the two other commissioner races, newly-appointed chairman Tommy Jordan and Brandon King are seeking the District 3 seat, while Trent Hatley is running unopposed for the District 4 seat held by newly-appointed vice chairman Zach Almond. Almond is not seeking reelection and will instead endorse Hatley, Jordan told SCJ in an interview on Dec. 16. 

In an election for Stanly County sheriff, incumbent Jeff Crisco will be challenged by Davara Ponds, who works as a chief officer for a private investigations company, after previously serving as Stanly deputy sheriff. 

Meanwhile, clerk of Superior Court Michael Huneycutt (R) has announced that he is stepping down from his role after 15 years; Democrat Todd Lowder will join Republicans Michael Greene, Ginger Efird and Pam Blake in a race for that position. 

In addition to all of the previously listed races, voters will fill three District 20A judicial seats for N.C. District Court. Republicans Phillip Cornett, John R. Nance and Thai Vang each currently campaign unopposed for the seats. 

With the state’s initial filing period put on pause, the N.C. State Board of Elections has not yet announced when a new filing period prior to the primary elections will begin. On Jan. 11, the Wake County Superior Court will decide on whether or not it allows the current state General Assembly and federal congressional districts to stay as they are, after legislators gave final approval to redistricting maps in November.