A new election season is underway in Durham, with a heated battle looming for county commissioner hopefuls, and one state legislator facing a challenge from within his own party.
A flurry of last-minute filing took place Friday ahead of the noon deadline for prospective candidates.
Voters will choose local leaders, state legislators and national officials in 2024.
Here’s what’s on the ballot this election.
When is the election?
Key dates to know:
March 5: Primary Day
Nov. 5: Election Day
What seats are open?
All five county commissioner seats
Four Durham Public Schools Board of Education seats
U.S. Congress, District 4 representative
All six members of the N.C. General Assembly representing Durham
Register of deeds
Soil & Water Board supervisor
Who is leaving office?
Durham County Commissioner Heidi Carter is retiring.
“I want to open up more space for a new generation of leaders,” Carter told The News & Observer, adding that she is looking forward to spending time with her three grandkids.
Carter has been in local elected office for two decades. She was on the Board of Education for 12 years before her two terms on the Board of County Commissioners.
Two Board of Education members are departing.
Jovonia Lewis took to social media last week to say she is not seeking reelection to the school board, but is instead running for county commissioner.
“It has been a pleasure to serve this community, and I am profoundly grateful for the trust you placed in me,” Lewis wrote. “My commitment to this community remains unwavering. I will continue to contribute and support in any way I can, just as I did before holding this esteemed position.”
Lewis, executive director of the education nonprofit Empowered Parents in Community, served a single term.
Alexandra Valladares endorsed Atrayus Goode for the Board of Education’s at-large seat when she announced her departure, also after a single term.
“I will continue to serve out my term with dedication and passion,” she wrote on Facebook. “I am grateful for the opportunity to endorse a candidate who shares my values and priorities, and I trust that God will continue to guide us both in our endeavors to serve and make a positive impact in Durham and bring people together to work towards a common goal: providing the best possible education for our students.”
Valladares was the first Latina elected to school board in 2020.
Who is running in Durham County’s local races?
All five seats on the Board of County Commissioners are up for election and 11 people have filed to run.
They’re all Democrats, meaning the field will be narrowed during the primary.
Here’s who’s on the ballot:
Chair Nida Allam, elected in 2020
Vice Chair Nimasheena Burns, elected in 2020
Michelle Burton, an educator
Fredrick A. Davis, a pastor
Incumbent Brenda Howerton, in office since 2008
Incumbent Wendy Jacobs, in office since 2013
Mike Lee, a former Board of Education member
Jovonia Lewis, a Board of Education member
Daryl Payton, who works in the tech industry
Stephen J. Valentine, an attorney who sits on the Planning Commission
Renee Vaughan, who works at Duke University
North Carolina legislators must run every two years to keep their seats. All Durham’s state lawmakers hope to remain in office.
Two state Senate seats, occupied by Democrats:
Incumbent Mike Woodard (District 22) will face a primary challenger in Sophia Chitlik, a fellow Democrat. Libertarian Ray Ubinger also filed in the race.
Incumbent Natalie Murdock (District 20) has a Republican challenger, Christopher Partain.
Four state House seats, occupied by Democrats:
Incumbents Ray Jeffers (District 2), Vernetta Alston (District 29), Marcia Morey (District 30) and Zack Hawkins (District 31) are all running for reelection.
A Republican challenger, Jason Chambers, will run against Jeffers.
Terms in the U.S. House of Representatives also last two years.
Democrat Valerie Foushee is running for a second term representing North Carolina’s 4th Congressional District.
She has one Republican challenger, Eric Blankenburg, and one Libertarian challenger, Guy Meilleur.
Four seats on the Board of Education are available:
The at-large seat is being vacated and will have the only contested race. It is between Atrayus Goode, who runs Youth Mentoring Collaborative, and Joy Harrell, a former educator working in theater.
Jessica Carda-Auten, appointed to represent District 3 this year, will run to keep her seat.
Millicent Rogers has represented District B since 2020 and is seeking reelection.
The District A seat is being vacated. Retired Hillside High School educator Wendell Tabb will run uncontested.
One District Court judge’s seat is up for election:
Kendra Montgomery-Blinn, who was appointed this year, has filed.
One Superior Court judge’s seat is up for election:
Shamieka Rhinehart, first elected in 2016, is running again.
Two other local office are on the ballot.
Register of Deeds: Sharon Davis holds the office and has filed for reelection.
Soil and Water Supervisor: Anjali Boyd’s term is ending. She has not told The N&O if she is running again. There is a separate filing period in summer 2024 for these offices.