Two join District 2 race as filing period end

First Posted: 2/28/2014

LUMBERTON — County Commissioner Hubert Sealey on Friday lost one challenger for his District 2 seat on the county Board of Commissioners but gained two others.

Michael “Mike” A. Lewis, who filed as a candidate on Thursday, was ruled ineligible to run for the seat after the Robeson County Board of Elections discovered early Friday that he does not live in District 2.

Paul Hunt, a current member of the Rowland Board of Commissioners, and Jason Carter, a farmer from Fairmont, filed Friday, the last day to do so, to challenge Sealey in the May 6 Democratic primary. Other challengers for the seat include Berlester Campbell, a former county commissioner, Larry S. Graham and John Jackson.

Hunt, a lifelong resident of Rowland, is the manager of Lindsey Campbell Oil, a position he has held the past 15 years.

Hunt said that voters need to elect a county commissioner they can “trust, respect and be proud of ” in the decisions that they make.

“I will recognize the concerns of my constituents and put forth my 20 plus years of enterprise budget managing and over 40 years of public service to hard work,” Hunt said in a statement. “I love the people of Robeson County and have the willingness to support them and lead them with a successful outlook. I am willing to make self-sacrifices, treat people fairly, and stand on strong morals and values.”

Hunt served in the U.S. Navy. A member of the Rowland Town Council for seven years, he is the vice president of the Rowland Veterans Day Celebration Committee and a trustee member of the Rowland Chamber of Commerce. He calls himself an advocate for local Christian churches, Robeson County athletics, the Robeson County public schools, youth programs and small businesses.

Hunt is married to Elizabeth Hunt, Rowland’s mayor. They have six children and 13 grandchildren.

Carter, a lifelong resident of Robeson County, is a graduate of Fairmont High School, served in the U.S. Navy from 1999 t0 2001 and the U.S. Army from 2004 to 2007.

He started raising cattle in 2007 and growing row crops in 2010. In January he began working for the state Department of Corrections as corrections officer in Tabor City.

“Fairmont has not grown much in a while … It’s time for a change,” he said. “I want to bring more jobs to Robeson County and help provide more education for our children … . At the same time I want to help the elderly people in Robeson County.”

Carter attends Pleasant View Baptist Church in Fairmont. He is married to Shana Carter and has two boys.

Also on Friday two Robeson County residents filed for the state Senate District 13, which includes Robeson and Columbus counties. The seat is currently held by Sen. Michael Walters, who is not running for re-election.

Marcus S. Williams, a Democrat, is an attorney.

“It is my opinion that more harm is being perpetrated in Raleigh against the working poor, the North Carolina system of higher education, the public school system, middle-class families, the rural economy and individual freedoms than is emanating from the gridlock in Washington,” Williams said.

Williams previously served as an assistant public defender in the Robeson County court system and as president of the Robeson County Bar Association. Williams was the third vice chair of the New Hanover County Democratic Party in 1991.

Williams is on the board of directors for Friends of the Library of Robeson County. He is a member of St. Mary Catholic Church.

A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Williams was awarded with lifetime membership in the university’s General Alumni Association. Williams earned his law degree at the University of Minnesota. Williams is married to Althea J. Williams.

David Ayers, a Democrat, is a lifelong resident of St. Pauls who served as a town commissioner for eight years. He is employed by R.A. Jeffreys, formerly Eagle Distributing, as the on-premise manager and team leader.

Ayers points to education and improvements and upgrades to the local highways as high on his list of priorities.

“I’m running to support the growth and improvement of education. That’s the way people achieve financial stability,” he said. “If elected I will also push for funding to upgrade Interstates 95 and 74, highways that will help attract industry to the area … . But I am against tolls.”

Ayers is a graduate of East Carolina University. He is a member of St. Pauls Presbyterian Church, where he is an elder and along with his wife leads the youth ministry.

Ayers said he supports pay raises for teachers, the idea of a new technology high school in Robeson County, and more state funding for community colleges and universities. He also supports the use of incentives to attract businesses and industries to the state, believes more funding for health care is needed, wants more funding available to municipalities to maintain services such as fire and police protection, and supports federal recognition for the Lumbee Tribe.

He is married to Deborah Ayers and has two adult children.