Election Day: Polling hours and candidates in New Hanover, Brunswick counties

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Campaign signs outside the New Hanover County Board of Elections office for the 2016 primary election. Photo by Hannah Leyva.
Campaign signs outside the New Hanover County Board of Elections office for the 2016 primary election. Photo by Hannah Leyva.

Today is primary election day in North Carolina and four other states across the nation.

While the presidential race is forefront on everyone’s mind, there are several big primaries in both New Hanover and Brunswick counties as well. Polls in both counties are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Voters must have an acceptable form of government-issued identification.

Seven Republicans are competing for three open spots on the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners. Current Chairwoman Beth Dawson and Commissioner Woody White are both up for reelection. Two Cape Fear Public Utility Authority board members, current Chair Patricia Kusek and Vice-chair Jim Brumit, are also running. Rounding out the crowded field are former Board of Education member Derrick Hickey, real estate appraiser Campbell Dodd and current Cape Fear Community College Board of Trustees member John Babb.

There’s no primary on the Democrats side, as only three people filed for candidacy. Current Commissioner Jonathan Barfield Jr., former county commissioner and state Sen. Julia Boseman and Nelson Beaulieu will all be on the general election ballot in November.

There are also three open seats on the New Hanover County Board of Education, and there are primaries on both sides. Incumbents Jeannette Nichols and Lisa Estep are up against Frank Meares and David Wortman on the GOP side. On the Democratic ballot, there are five candidates vying to move on to the general election: James Jamison Jr., Sandra Leigh, Christopher Meek, Emma Saunders and Kevin Spears.

In Brunswick County, Pat Sykes, the Board of Commissioners District 3 incumbent, is being challenged by fellow Republican and Oak Island Town Council member Jim Medlin. The District 4 seat is being vacated by current Chairman Scott Phillips and will have primaries in both parties. The GOP race for that district features Alan Lewis, Louie Lewis and Mike Forte. On the other side, Brenda Faye McMillian and Timothy Evans are vying to be the Democratic nominee.

All the Board of Education primaries in Brunswick County are on the Republican ballot only. Bud Thorsen, the current chair and District 1 representative, is not running, and Ed Lemon, Gene Steadman Jr. and Joseph Causey are seeking his seat. District 2 incumbent Catherine Cooke is being challenged in this race by two fellow Republicans, Christy Faircloth Judah and Steve Wray. Ellen Milligan is challenging District 4 incumbent Shirley Babson.

There are also several races for state offices, including for governor, lieutenant governor (Democrats only), attorney general, superintendent of public instruction and some state legislature offices. On the federal level, there are races for U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, but due to a court ruling that forced the General Assembly to redraw House congressional districts, a second primary will be held later in the summer for those seats only.

To see sample ballots for New Hanover County residents, click here. For Brunswick County sample ballots, click here.