Only a few primary races will offer voters a choice

You barely need two hands to count the face-offs in the election May 2

Staff WriterMarch 1, 2006 



An article on Page 3B in some editions Wednesday gave the incorrect age for N.C. House candidate Ty Harrell. He is 36.


Whether you pick the Democratic or Republican ballot in May, you'll only have a few choices.

When filing closed Tuesday, both parties ended up with primary contests in just a handful of Wake and Johnston's local and state races.

In Wake County, Republicans will choose whether to stick with two incumbents -- a county commissioner and a state representative -- or seek a fresh start for November.

Democrats will decide who should challenge a longtime House representative and the Superior Court clerk in the fall, and whether to stay with an incumbent state representative or go for a political newcomer.

Primary races for Wake's other six state House seats, four state Senate seats, three county commissioner seats and sheriff's job are uncontested.

On the Republican ballot, voters will see two contested primaries for local or legislative races.

One will occur in House District 40, where Marilyn Avila, 57, an event coordinator for the John Locke Foundation, stepped down as chairwoman of the Wake County Republican Party to run against state Rep. Rick Eddins. Eddins, 52, owner of Rolesville Furniture, is a six-term incumbent.

The second will happen in the District 3 race for a seat on the Wake County Board of Commissioners, where Republican incumbent Tony Gurley, 49, a Raleigh attorney and pharmacist, is running for re-election. Gurley will face first-time candidate Michael Luther of Cary. The District 3 seat represents western Wake but is elected at-large. Luther, 45, is studying genetics through a distance-learning program at N.C. State.

On the Democratic ballot, incumbent Rep. Deborah Ross will face a primary challenge from Demian Dellinger, a Garner resident who works as a consultant to nonprofit housing developers.

Ross, 42, is in her second term in House District 38. Dellinger, 30, has never run for office.

In House District 41, Duke University fund-raiser Ty Harrell will face Raleigh financial planner Chris Mintz for the Democratic nomination. Harrell, 35, worked on Erskine Bowles' 2002 U.S. Senate campaign. Mintz, who announced late last year he was switching parties, is a former president of the Wake County Republican Mens Club.

Two Raleigh lawyers will compete for the Democratic nomination for clerk of Wake County Superior Court.

Mark Perry, 47, a criminal defense lawyer who won the Democratic primary for clerk in 2002, will face off against Nancy "Lorrin" Freeman, 34, an assistant attorney general and former chairwoman of the Wake County Democratic Party.

The winner will likely face Republican incumbent Jan Pueschel, 60.

In Johnston County, the only contested primary races will be for the Superior Court clerk's office and for three school board seats.

Patricia Oliver, 58, of Selma filed Tuesday against incumbent Clerk of Superior Court Will Crocker, 68, of Smithfield, creating a Democratic primary contest. The winner will face Republican James R. Gerrell, 35, of Selma, who resigned from the Johnston County Sheriff's Office Tuesday morning before he entered the race.

In Johnston's nonpartisan school board race, a field of 10 candidates will face each other in the May 2 primary. The six highest vote-getters will compete for the three seats in November.

(Staff writer Peggy Lim contributed to this report.)

Staff writer Ryan Teague Beckwith can be reached at 836-4944 or

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