Four of five county commissioners up for re-election

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By Caroline Curran, Reporter

The face of Brunswick County’s governing board could change dramatically after next week’s election. Four of the five sitting county commissioners are up for re-election Nov. 4.

The District 2 seat, held by Marty Cooke, became a contested race after the death of county commissioner and chairman David Sandifer in April. Either Cooke or his challenger Marion Davis will serve the remainder of Sandifer’s term, which ends in 2010.

Cooke was nominated by the Brunswick County Republican Party’s Executive Committee in April to serve until December, and to be on the ballot to serve the remainder of Sandifer’s term.

In May, the Brunswick County Democratic Party’s Executive Committee selected Davis to challenge Cooke in the election.

Davis, who unsuccessfully challenged Sandifer for the District 2 seat in 2006, said in a Beacon questionnaire, if elected, he would “examine the high costs areas of county government and investigate ways in which expenses can be cut to save the taxpayers money.”

Cooke, CEO of Cooke Realty in Ocean Isle Beach, said since taking office, “I have endeavored to learn everything I could since about the county and the issues concerning our area.”

In a Beacon questionnaire, Cooke said “each department must seek means to refine their operations, ensuring the public gets more than their money’s worth at every level of government.”

The District 3 race pits the Democratic incumbent May Moore against Republican challenger Charles Warren. Moore, a retired teacher, is seeking her third term as county commissioner.

If re-elected, Moore said the county must protect its strong bond rating, and “protect services for people while making government succeed when revenues are declining.” Warren declined to participate in the Beacon’s questionnaire.

In District 4, political newcomer Scott Phillips is challenging the Democratic incumbent Tom Rabon. Rabon, a retired postmaster, said roads are the county’s most critical issue, followed by water and wastewater systems.

Phillips said the county’s biggest issue is infrastructure, which includes roads.

“The county and its officials need to hold state legislators accountable” for the lack of Brunswick County’s road funding.

County commissioners chairman Bill Sue, who has served as a county commissioner since 1994, is being challenged for the District 5 seat by Democrat Randy Rhodes.

Rhodes, an attorney, said if elected, budget cuts would be made beginning with the county’s fleet of vehicles. Rhodes would question the number of vehicles and their uses.

Sue said the county’s most critical issue is roads, but says the department of transportation should fulfill their duty for roads, not the county.

“If, in turn, the legislators, recommend individual counties’ involvement in improving and expanding roads, this action should be partnered with a funding source,” Sue said.

The four commissioners-elect will join Republican Phil Norris on the board.