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Szoka files for county commissioner; fifth candidate enters Fayetteville mayor’s race


Editor's note: This story has been updated with this correction: Naveed Aziz will face incumbent Marvin Lucas in the Democratic primary for the House District 42 seat.

.Rep. John Szoka will not seek another term in the state House. On Friday, the last day of the filing period, he entered the race for an at-large seat on the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners.

Also Friday, a former lawmaker filed for the state Senate, a fifth candidate entered the race for Fayetteville mayor and a second person filed to challenge the county sheriff.

“Felt we needed a congressman who is from Cumberland County,” said Szoka, 67, a Republican who has represented House District 45 since 2012.

Szoka said he had planned to run against incumbent Congressman Richard Hudson. His House District 45 changed when state House and Senate districts were redrawn.

“Somebody said ‘Why not run for county commissioner?’’ he said. “I thought it was not a half-bad idea.”

Wesley Meredith, a former state senator, filed for the state Senate District 19 seat along with former Cumberland County District Court Judge Ed Donaldson. Meredith will face Dennis Britt in the Republican primary. Donaldson will face former Fayetteville City Councilwoman Val Applewhite and incumbent Sen. Kirk deViere in the Democratic primary.

The primary is scheduled for May 17.

Others filing for state legislative offices were:

  • Republican Gloria Carrasco in House District 42. Naveed Aziz also filed for the seat Friday. Aziz will face incumbent Marvin Lucas in the Democratic primary.
  • Kimberly Hardy of Linden and Clarence Goins Jr. of Eastover for the House District 43 seat. Goins will face incumbent Diane Wheatley in the Republican primary. Hardy will go up against Elmer Floyd and Prince Christian in the Democratic primary.
  • Susan Chapman, a Republican, for the House District 45 seat currently held by Szoka. Frances Jackson, Keith Byrd and Fayetteville City Councilman Chris Davis previously filed for the seat and will face each other in the Democratic primary.  

Clifton L. Johnson became the fifth candidate to challenge Mayor Mitch Colvin, who is seeking a third term. The other candidates who previously filed for mayor are Freddie Delacruz, Nyrell Melvin and Antoine Miner.

Brenda McNair filed Friday for the City Council District 7 seat held by incumbent Larry Wright, who is seeking re-election. Myah Warren has also filed for the seat.

Ronald Pittman also filed Friday for one of two at-large seats on the county Board of  Commissioners. He will face incumbent Larry Lancaster, Marshall Faircloth, Jackie Paul-Ray, Paul Taylor and Veronica B. Jones in the Democratic primary. Republican Ron Ross previously filed for the seat.

Republican Larue Windham Jr. filed Friday to run against Sheriff Ennis Wright, who is seeking re-election. Wright will face Lester Lowe in the Democratic primary.

Eshonda Hooper filed Friday for Cumberland County Clerk of Superior Court. She will go up against incumbent Lisa Scales in the Democratic primary.

Szoka was part of the Cumberland County legislative delegation that helped to bring $413 million to Cumberland and surrounding communities in the state budget signed into law in November by Gov. Roy Cooper. Much of the funding is earmarked for the proposed N.C. Civil War & Reconstruction History Center, Fayetteville State University and Fayetteville Technical Community College, Szoka said.

“Why don’t we make sure all the money is used for what it was sent here for,” Szoka said about his bid for county commissioner.

Meredith, who also served on the Fayetteville City Council, could not be reached for comment.

Bill Kirby Jr. can be reached at billkirby49@gmail.com or 910-624-1961.

Fayetteville, Cumberland County, elections, state House, state senate, City Council, mayor