December 23, 2015

The race is on for three of four Dare
Board of Commissioner seats


Candidate filing for the March 15 primary election ended on Monday, Dec . 21, and three of the four seats up for election in 2016 on the Dare County Board of Commissioners will be contested in the primary or general election.

The only race that will be uncontested is for the District 4 seat, which includes all of Hatteras Island.  Incumbent commissioner Allen Burrus has announced he will not seek re-election for health reasons.

Democrat Danny Couch, who currently serves on the Dare County Board of Education, has filed to fill the seat.  Republican Scott White of Rodanthe, who filed early for the District 4 seat, withdrew his candidacy last week -- thus Couch will be unopposed in the general election.

The District 1 Republican incumbent, vice-chairman Wally Overman, who has been on the board since he was appointed in 2013,  is being challenged in the Republican primary by Francis D'Ambra of Manteo. The winner of that race will then meet Democrat Rosemarie Doshier, an East Lake realtor, in November.

In the contest for the District 2 seat, the incumbent is Republican Board Chairman Bob Woodard of Kill Devil Hills, who was first elected to the board in 2012. Two Democrats have filed for the seat and will face off in the March primary -- John Towler, a lieutenant in the Kill Devil Hills Police Department, and Bobby Culpepper, a Walmart employee who was defeated by Jack Shea in the 2014 Board of Commissioners election. The winner in the primary will face Woodard in November.

Board of Commissioners' District 3 is an open seat since incumbent Democrat Warren Judge, who has been on the board for 15 years, has filed for the seat in the N.C. House of Representatives that is being vacated by Paul Tine of Kitty Hawk.

Two Republicans will face off in the primary for this seat -- Steve House, who operates First Flight Home Service -- and Jimmy Ray Watts, who has a law enforcement background. The winner of the primary will face Democrat Monica Thibodeau, a 12-year member of the Duck Town Council, in the November general election.

In the 2014 general election, the Dare County Board of Commissioners, which had long been in the hands of Democrats, switched to  Republican control. The 4-3 Democratic majority became a 5-2 Republican majority.

Three of the seven board seats are not up for election in 2016, and they are all held by Republicans -- Jack Shea, Margarette Umphlett, and Beverly Boswel1.  It is possible that Democrats could take back control, but they would have to sweep all four races.


Four of the seven seats on the Dare County Board of Education are up for election in 2016, but only two of them will be contested.  The school board races are non-partisan and will be decided in the March 15 primary.

One of the contested seats is District 4, which includes all of Hatteras Island. Incumbent Danny Couch of Buxton chose instead to run for the Board of Commissioners.  Two Hatteras islanders have filed to succeed him -- Carlos A. Babilonia of Buxton and Mary Ellon Ballance of Hatteras village.

The other contested seat is to succeed David Oaksmith, a school board veteran who died in November.  In that race, former Dare Schools transportation director, David Twiddy, and Brandy Foreman of Wanchese will face each other.

Ben Sproul, who holds the District 2 seat and is board chairman, and Bea Basnight, who fills the District 1 seat and is the board's vice-chairwoman, are unopposed.


In the November general election, incumbent Republican state Sen. Bill Cook of Chocowinity, who was first elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2014, will face Democrat Brownie Futrell, a former newspaper publisher from Washington,  N.C., for the District 1 Senate seat, representing Beaufort, Dare, Hyde, Currituck, Camden, Pasquotank, Perquimans, and Gates counties.

There are both Republican and Democratic primaries in the race for the District 6 seat on the N.C. House of Representatives, which is being vacated by Paul Tine. The district includes Dare, Hyde, Washington, and part of Beaufort counties.

Facing off on March 15 will be Democrats Warren Judge of Kitty Hawk and Judy Justice of Manteo.  There will be a three-way race in the Republican primary.  The candidates include Dare County Commissioner Beverly Boswell of Kill Devil Hills, Ashley Woodard of Beaufort County, and Arthur Williams, a Washington, N.C., a former District 6 representative as a Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for the seat in 2012 as a Republican.

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