Published: Oct 16, 2012 05:30 PM
Modified: Oct 16, 2012 05:26 PM
Durhams early-voting Election Days begin at 9 a.m. Thursday, with two primary questions for voters to settle for the next four years in Durham County:
• Can independent Omar Beasley beat one of five Democrats for a seat on the Board of County Commissioners?
• Can challenger James Dornfried unseat longtime Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson?
Seven early voting polling places will be open daily until 1 p.m. Nov. 3. Voters may cast their ballots at any one of them.
Besides county commissioners and a Superior Court judge, and the presidential, congressional, gubernatorial and other statewide offices, Durham County voters get to choose or approve (several incumbents are unopposed) their state legislators, a soil and water commissioner, a register of deeds and a District Court judge with some variation depending on which of 25 different ballots pertains to the voters address.
(For sample ballots, see bit.ly/QZkZiN
In a departure from previous practice, the Durham County Board of Elections office is not a voting location. Instead, the downtown poll has moved to the Museum of Durham Historys History Hub in the former DATA station off the Downtown Loop between Main and Morgan streets.
Other locations are:
• North Regional Library, 221 Milton Road
• South Regional Library, 4505 S. Alston Ave.
• East Regional Library, 211 Lick Creek Lane
• Githens Middle School, 4800 Old Chapel Hill Road
• Duke University, West Campus Union
• N.C. Central University, Student Union
Beasley, a bail bondsman making his first try for elective public office gained a spot on the ballot by petition, after the May partisan primaries. No Republicans ran for the five-person county board, while Democrats nominated, in order of finish:
• Ellen Reckhow, incumbent commissioner since 1988
• Fred Foster, Jr., president, Durham NAACP
• Wendy Jacobs, environmental consultant
• Brenda Howerton, incumbent commissioner since 2008
• Michael D. Page, incumbent commissioner since 2004, current chairman
Two of Durhams three major political-action committees have endorsed Beasley: the generally conservative Friends of Durham and the Durham Committee On the Affairs of Black People. The Committee dropped its primary endorsement of Foster, who retained endorsement by the generally liberal Durham Peoples Alliance.
The Durham County Democratic Party endorsed Foster to take a seat early, filling out the unexpired term of former Commissioner Joe Bowser who resigned after losing a re-election bid in the primary. Board members, though, chose Durham Committee Chairman Philip Cousin, a former county commissioner.
Other Committee endorsements went to Howerton and Page. Besides Foster, the PA endorsed Jacobs and Reckhow. Besides Beasely, the Friends favored Jacobs, Howerton, Page and Reckhow.
The Friends and the Committee have also endorsed re-election for Hudson, a Superior Court judge since 1989, while the Peoples Alliance favored Dornfried, an assistant district attorney and close associate of ousted DA Tracey Cline. It was Clines verbal attacks on Hudson that led to her dismissal in March. A state investigation cleared Hudson of Clines accusations, but in September the State Court of Appeals overturned Hudsons dismissal of a murder conviction, one of the judges actions Cline had disputed.