Brittney Lofthouse – Contributing Writer
Republican candidates poured into Macon County over the weekend as part of a Western North Carolina tour to meet with potential voters ahead of the March 3 primary election.
Absentee-ballot voting began on Monday and early voting is slated to begin in just a few short weeks in North Carolina. Republican candidates gathered at the Macon County Republican Party Headquarters on Saturday to meet with interested voters.
Holly Grange, Republican candidate for North Carolina Governor was among those in attendance.
“What a wonderful little headquarters you have here,” Grange said while shaking the hand of Macon GOP Chairman Carla Miller. “Thank you for this opportunity to meet with voters.”
Grange has served in the North Carolina House of Representatives for District 2 since 2016. She is a veteran of the United States Military, serving nine years in the Army Corps of Engineers. She attended Northern Illinois University College of Law and practiced law in Illinois until 2009 when she and her family moved to Wilmington.
Grange wasn’t the only state candidate to stop in Macon on Saturday. Joining a host of local candidates, other state candidates included Pearl Floy, candidate for Commissioner of Labor, Michael LaPaglia and Chad Brown, candidates for Secretary of State, and Jeff Carpenter, candidate for NC Court of Appeals Judge Seat 07.
Incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis R-N.C. faces three primary challengers: Paul Wright, Sharon Hudson and Larry Holmquist. Five Democrats are vying for their party’s nomination, including state senator Erica Smith and Army veteran Cal Cunningham, who was endorsed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Other state seats on the ballot this March include Governor, Lieutenant Governor, State Auditor, Insurance Commissioner, Secretary of the Department of Instruction, and other state leaders.
Voters must be registered in Macon County to participate in the county’s primaries. Voter registration forms may be obtained at the Board of Elections office in the Macon County Courthouse and must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Feb. 7.
On Dec. 31, a federal district court judge issued a temporary block on North Carolina’s voter photo ID law that was approved as an amendment to the N.C. Constitution by voters in 2018. Because of the injunction, Voter ID will not be required for the March primary. However, Attorney General Josh Stein said in a Jan. 2 news release that the North Carolina Department of Justice will appeal the ruling but that it was too late to do so for the primary.
“However, to avoid any further voter confusion in the primary election in which absentee voting begins in just 11 days and to ensure that the primary election proceeds on schedule and is administered in an orderly manner, the department will not seek a stay of this injunction before the primary,” the statement read.
The Macon County News will begin a six-part election coverage series next week with an overview of the Macon County Board of Commissioners candidates.