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Local candidates big spenders

Article Published: Apr. 29, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011

Local candidates are opening their checkbooks in the hope of winning local races, though early-voter turnout is sluggish.

Candidates for Watauga County Clerk of Court have been the biggest local spenders, as the five candidates seeking the $82,000-a-year job have raised about $29,000 between them, spending most of it on the primary race.

Sitting clerk of court Wanda Howell, who was appointed to fill the term left when Glen Hodges retired, has spent $4,802 through the first-quarter financial-filing deadline of Apr. 17. She reported cash on hand of $2,292, loaning $500 to her own campaign.

Lowell Younce, who is joining her on the Republican primary ballot, has spent $5,904, and has one hand $2,043. He has loaned his campaign $5,904.

In the Democratic race for the clerk nomination, Diane Deal has spent $6,437 and has $906 on hand,m loaning her campaign $4,000. Steve Combs has spent $2,937 and has $112, loaning himself $1,524 in the first quarter. Tom Trexler has spent $3,556 and has $801 on hand.

The non-partisan school board races have also seen unusual levels of spending. Lenny Cottom has raised $1,462, spending most of it in the first quarter. Delora Hodges has spent $763 of the $1,084 she has raised, and Charlie Wallin has spent $60, with $1,255 on hand.

Incumbent Marsha Walpole has spent $635 and has $284 on hand as of April 17. John Welch, Alan Utter, Jim Smith, Scott Courtney and incumbent R. Lee Warren have filed papers saying they will spend less than $3,000 on the campaign and therefore don't have to file quarterly reports.
In state races, Republicans Jeffrey C. Elmore and Dan Soucek are vying for the District 93 N.C. House of Representatives nomination. Elmore has spent $5,864 and has $3,661 on hand. Soucek's report is not yet available from the State Board of Elections.

In the Republican race for Fifth District U.S. House of Representatives seat, incumbent Virginia Foxx raised $539,840 in the last quarter and now has $1,234,582 on hand. Her opponent, Keith Gardner, has nothing.

Elections director Jane Hodges said turnout appears to be closer to the 1,100 early voters in 2006 rather than the 11,000 who went to the early polls in the 2008 presidential primary.

Early, one-stop voting is underway 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at three locations through April 30: the Board of Elections office in the county courthouse, the Agricultural Conference Center in Boone and the Appalachian State University Plemmons Student Union.

On Saturday, one-stop voting is at the Agricultural Conference Center and the Board of Elections office only, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., with the primary held on May 4.

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