Early voting starts on Thursday across North Carolina for the 2016 primary election and endorsements are coming in fast and furious as voters prepare to head to the polls.
Nine candidates are running for four seats on the Orange County Board of Commissioners. All of the candidates who filed are Democrats, meaning that the primary will determine the makeup of the next edition of the seven-member board.
Voters will choose between four candidates for two seats from District 1. District 2 is a two-candidate race and three candidates are looking to fill the at-large seat that will be vacated by Bernadette Pelissier, who has chosen to not seek reelection.
The Orange-Chatham branch of the Sierra Club issued endorsements in late February. The environmental advocacy group is backing incumbents Mark Dorosin and Penny Rich in District 1, incumbent Renee Price in District 2 and Mark Marcoplos for the at-large seat.
Equality NC announced its endorsements on Tuesday, with some overlap. The LGBTQ rights group endorsed the incumbents Dorosin, Rich and Price from Districts 1 and 2. The group chose to endorse Matt Hughes for the at-large seat on the board.
The Anderson, Thorpe, Chapman Breakfast Club endorsed Dorosin, Rich, Price and Hughes. The North Carolina Sheriff Police Alliance also endorsed Dorosin, Rich, Price and Hughes.
Dorosin and Rich are facing a challenge from longtime Chapel Hill – Carrboro School board member Jamezetta Bedford. Gary Kahn, who has ran unsuccessfully for Chapel Hill Town Council, Orange County Commissioner and Chapel Hill Mayor, is also running for a seat from District 1.
Price is running against community activist Bonnie Hauser for the District 2 seat.
Marcoplos and Hughes are joined by Efland resident Andy Cagle, who ran for Sheriff in 2014, on the ballot for the at-large seat.
Early voting runs March 3 through March 12. Same-day registration is available during that period.
Primary election day is March 15.
North Carolina voters will be voting in primary races for President, U.S. Senate and Governor in addition to local races.
The race for the U.S. House of Representatives has been postponed until June 7 after a federal court ruled that North Carolina’s Congressional map was unconstitutional. That forced lawmakers to redraw the maps and open a new filing period for Congressional candidates wanting to run in the newly-configured districts.