ROCKINGHAM — Before November’s election, the candidate fields in three races will have to be narrowed down in May primaries.
Filing ended at noon Wednesday with three candidates in two races (one state, one local) waiting until the 11th hour to throw their hats in the ring.
Peggy Covington and longtime educator Dr. Rick Watkins both filed for a chance to be elected to the Richmond County Board of Commissioners and Republican Clyde Cupples of Stanly County is challenging Rep. Ken Goodman for the N.C. House District 66 seat.
Covington is a former commissioner who ran unsuccessfully in 2014 and 2016. Watkins is a former principal and currently an assistant professor at Wingate Universtity.
Republican James Entwistle filed for the commissioners race on Monday, joining challenger Tavares Bostic and incumbents Herb Long, Don Bryant and Ben Moss.
Covington, Watkins, Bostic, Long and Bryant will face each other in the May Democratic primary, with all but one moving on to the November ballot — where the remaining four will face off against Entwistle, Moss and possibly Michael Campbell, who has to collect 1,202 signatures by May 8.
There are four seats up for grabs on the county board, currently held by Moss, Long, Bryant and Commissioner Thad Ussery, who did not file for re-election.
Seven candidates are vying for one of four spots on the Richmond County Board of Education, including incumbents Irene Pittman Aiken, Bobbie Sue Ormsby and Joe Richardson, and challengers Pat Campbell, Daryl Mason, J.L. McCulers and Statha Osborne, who filed Tuesday.
The school board contest is non-partisan and the election will be held May 8.
State Sen. Tom McInnis, R-Richmond, will have to make it past Whispering Pines Mayor Michelle Lexo in the Republican primary, then overcome Democratic challenger Helen Probst Mills if he wants to return to Raleigh in 2019.
Another Republican primary in May will have U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger squaring off against challengers Mark Harris and Clarence Goins Jr. before taking on the winner of the Democratic primary between Christian Cano and Dan McCready and Libertarian Jeffrey Scott.
All candidates in that race are from Charlotte — aside from Goins, who is from Eastover in Cumberland County.
Sheriff James Clemmons, District Attorney Reece Saunders and Clerk of Superior Court Vickie Daniel — all Democrats — are running unopposed.