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Brunswick County Board of Education member Ray Gilbert may have lost his seat during the primary election in May, but his name will still appear on the ballot for November’s general election.
Gilbert filed to run for the board as the Libertarian candidate on July 1.
“After much thought and consideration of options on how to continue to work toward a sound education for all students, I decided to continue as a Libertarian candidate for the Brunswick County Board of Education,” Gilbert said in a statement.
Gilbert, who previously ran as a Republican, lost his seat in the primary elections to former BOE member and chairman Bud Thorsen. John Jones, a former interim superintendent in Brunswick County, is on the ticket as the Democratic candidate.
“The decision to move my conservative principles to the Libertarian party was very thoughtful and came after many calls and conversation from citizens asking me to consider a write-in campaign,” Gilbert said. “The voters will have a choice in the November election and I look forward to being that choice.”
Don Wright, general counsel for the North Carolina State Board of Elections, said North Carolina lost its Libertarian Party in 2004 due to an insignificant voter population, but the party was rerecognized this year May 22 after presenting a petition with more than the 69,734 voter signatures needed to reinstate the party.
Wright also said there is no law prohibiting Gilbert to appear on the general election ballot as a member of a different party, despite losing a primary election.
Gilbert’s spot on the board was previously in question after being placed under a one-year domestic violence order of protection after a West Brunswick High School secretary claimed he threatened her life after she ended an affair between them.
Gilbert publicly admitted to the affair but denied ever making threats.
Board member Jimmy Hobbs called for Gilbert’s resignation in January, and the board asked the attorney general’s office to conduct an investigation to decide whether Gilbert should be removed from the board, as a board cannot legally remove one of its elected members.
The board then banned Gilbert from entering any school-owned property with the exception of central office for board business and the carpool lane at Jessie Mae Monroe Elementary, where his children attend school.
The attorney general’s office said in February it did not find reason for Gilbert to be removed from office, and the board repealed Gilbert’s ban from school properties.
Gilbert appealed the order, which was later dismissed after the two parties came to an agreement, the details of which were kept private.
Kathryn Jacewicz is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or at email@example.com