The national media has been speculating about presidential candidates in 2016. Orange County already has a possible candidate for 2016—Sam Kittrell is considering running for sheriff. The longtime Orange peace officer, who served as chief of the Orange Police Department for 23 years, has filed paperwork to allow him to collect donations and spend campaign funds. Kittrell told KOGT that he is ‘still in the consideration stage.’ He filed the paperwork to let people know he is interested in the position. Current Sheriff Keith Merritt won an unopposed term last year and started a new four-year term in January. Kittrell said he is a Republican. Merritt has told KOGT he will run in 2016.
Filing for the 2014 county elections doesn't begin another three months, but a number of people have submitted papers listing campaign treasurers. The papers are filed in the Orange County Election Administrator's Office. State law requires the papers to be filed before any money is collected or spent on an election. The paperwork does not commit a person to becoming a candidate for an office and the party affiliations are not listed. In addition, the person filing the papers does not have to list the office they will be seeking. County offices that will be up for election include county judge, county commissioner for Precincts 2 and 4, county clerk and the justices of the peace for all four precincts. Filing will be Nov. 9 through Dec. 9. The primary elections will be March 4.
County Judge Carl Thibodeaux, who has run as a Democrat, has filed his treasurer paperwork to seek another term. He told KOGT’s Gary Stelly Monday morning that he is too busy working on the county budget to talk about which party he will file with. In 2012, a number of incumbents who previously had been Democrats switched parties and ran as Republicans. Precinct 2 Commissioner Owen Burton, also a Democrat, has not submitted paperwork for 2014. However, his nephew, Barry M. Burton filed a paper for the Precinct 2 commissioner position and listed Owen Burton's wife as his campaign treasurer. Incumbent District Clerk Vickie Edgerly has also submitted her paperwork. She has previously run as a Democrat. Kay Abbott, who used to work in the district clerk's office, now for Attorney Jerry Pennington, has also filed. Abbott has a campaign Facebook page listing herself as a Republican. Incumbent County Treasurer Christy Khoury has also submitted paperwork.
Incumbent Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Derry Dunn filed his paperwork. He has run as a Democrat. Pinehurst City Councilman Matt Chandler filed for the Precinct 2 justice position. Chandler has been active on the Facebook page for the Orange County Republican Party. The Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace race might also see competition. Incumbent Janice Menard, who has run as a Democrat, has filed paperwork for the seat, as has Joy Dubose-Simonton, daughter of former Precinct 3 county commissioner John Dubose. She has a campaign Facebook page as a Republican. Candice Conroy Steele also submitted a treasurer paper for Justice of the Peace Precinct 3. She has a campaign Facebook page listing herself as a Republican.
Another Pinehurst City Council member, Ron Cowling Jr., filed paperwork but did list a specific office. He is active on the local Republican Facebook page. Former sheriff Mike White also filed paperwork but did not list an office. White was a Democrat but switched parties.
-Margaret Toal, KOGT-