MILLERS CREEK — Democrats in the 45th NC Senate District are scrambling for a new candidate to oppose GOP incumbent Deanna Ballard, now that Democratic nominee Brandon Anderson has withdrawn from the race.
Apparently Anderson, who is the president of the Wilkes County Democratic Party, decided to leave the race in June, but did not make his decision public until this week with a Facebook posting that he had left the race. In that Tuesday posting, he referenced a letter he sent to the North Carolina Board of Elections on June 19 withdrawing from the race — just six weeks after being named the party’s nominee. He ran for the nomination unopposed in May.
“It’s with a heavy heart I announce today that I will withdraw from the race to be your next N.C. Senator from the 45th District,” the letter begins. “This campaign has been entirely about you, the people, and my goal in leading this charge has always been about improving lives and building a better, more inclusive community: a true 45th we can believe in.”
Anderson said the growing need to focus on his work with his ministry Christ the Liberator, which is oriented toward the LGBTQ community, is the reason for his exit from the political race.
Roy Thomasson, chairman of the Surry County Democratic Party, said Wednesday the next step is for a committee of representatives from each county in the 45th District to vote on a new candidate.
The State Senate District Executive Committee, which is made of up of two representatives from each county, Alleghany, Ashe, Iredell, Watauga, Wilkes, Yadkin and the western portion of Surry, has met once already to find a replacement, Thomasson said, and plans to meet again next week. Surry County precincts in the 45th District include Elkin 1, 2, 3, Bryan, Franklin, Marsh, Dobson 1, 2, 3, Stewarts Creek 1, 2, Mount Airy 8, Rockford, Eldora and Siloam.
“We haven’t decided on a replacement yet,” he said, noting that he attended the meeting solely has a county party chairman, not as a voting member of the committee.
“The committee is being coordinated by the Fifth District Democratic Party Chairman Charlie Wallin,” Thomasson said. “Discussions have been had with several replacements, so the committee will reconvene and make a decision.”
Once a decision is made, the name of the candidate will be presented to the North Carolina Board of Elections to be put on the November ballot.
Ballard won the nomination when she defeated Shirley Randleman in the May 8 primary. Both had been incumbent Republican senators, but the redrawn General Assembly maps lumped them both in a single district.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.