The first of four forums for Wake County Board of Commissioners candidates will take place in Garner on Thursday night, in an election that will not change the balance of power on the board.
None of the seven-member board’s four Republicans are up for reelection this fall. The three seats that are up this year are held by Democrats, and even if the party hangs on to them, Republicans will remain in control.
The forums are sponsored by the nonprofit, nonpartisan groups WakeUp Wake County and the League of Women Voters of Wake County, with the sorority Delta Sigma Theta joining in for Thursday’s event.
“When you have more events, you get more people,” said Karen Rindge, executive director of WakeUp Wake County. “Our goal is to educate voters and let people know where the candidates stand on things that will affect our quality of life.”
Elections are taking place in the following districts:
• In District 5, Commissioner James West is unopposed.
• In District 6, incumbent Betty Lou Ward, a Democrat, faces Republican Paul Fitts. Ward has served on the commission for 24 years and has held numerous positions on the panel and on national bodies representing county commissioners. Fitts bills himself as a lifelong Wake County resident who will work to keep taxes low.
• In District 4, there’s a two-party race to succeed Commissioner Erv Portman, who took a seat on the board following the resignation of Stan Norwalk. Portman, a Democrat and Cary businessman, elected to run for a state legislative seat, instead of running for another county stint.
Holly Springs businessman Dale Cooke, the Republican candidate, has been a founder and executive in high-tech industries and hopes to bring voters lower taxes and more-accountable government.
Democratic candidate Caroline Sullivan of Raleigh is a community volunteer and former fundraiser for Democratic candidates. She is pledging to reform and invest in public schools and to create choices for residents via a new transportation system.