Under the Dome

Piner wants your signature, your vote

It’s time to add another name to the list of North Carolinians attempting to capture the U.S. Senate seat from incumbent democratic Sen. Kay Hagan.

Sperby Piner, a retired federal government employee from Sneads Ferry, is working to gather enough signatures to earn his way onto the ballot as a write-in candidate. On Friday, Piner said he needed 89,000 more signatures by June 15. Unaffiliated candidates need 89,366 signatures to get on the ballot.

In a race that already has a baker’s dozen of party-affiliated candidates – eight Republicans, three Democrats and two Libertarians – Piner said he’ll stand out as the guy who knows how to get things done.

“I worked for the federal government for 25 years,” said Piner, who retired seven years ago from his post as a communications director for the Marine Corps at Camp Lejeune.

“I’ve seen how it operates, I’ve been to different schools for leadership, (know) how to get along with people, how to get budgets done.

“I’ve done just about everything that Congress will be doing.”

Piner said he began gathering signatures in November because he simply got fed up with the state of things, and he felt like Congress wasn’t doing anything at all to fix them.

“The people that … run Congress are always the affluent people who have money,” he said. “It’s time we change that. Everybody should have an opportunity, not just those people who are well off.”

Sherry Burrows, a 58-year-old mental health therapist from Youngsville, is also gathering signatures to sign onto the ballot as an independent. Burrows isn’t paying attention to how many signatures she’s gotten so far – it’s too stressful, she said.

Burrows said she’s waiting, instead, to see how the May 6 Republican primary goes before she starts her final push.

“I don’t want to run against myself,” said Burrows, who calls herself a constitutional conservative promoting limited government.

“There are a couple of candidates who I’ve been looking into who are kind of on the same page I’m on, and if they are the nominee, I don’t want to … divide the party.”

Piner said for now, he’s focused on spreading his name and getting signatures. And once in office, if he gets there, he’ll focus on reducing the deficit and limiting government spending.

“Did you know that when Jesus was born, if you started spending a million dollars an hour every hour up until today, you still would not have spent as much as our national debt is?” he said.

“It’s really an amazing amount of money.”

This item has been updated to correct the number of signatures needed.