Wake County Elections Watch: Filing Period Begins

The filing period for candidates begins today at noon and ends on February 28 at noon. Wake County District Attorney candidates file with the North Carolina State Board of Elections. Wake County local elections, including Clerk of Court and local judicial races, file with the Wake County Board of Elections.

Democrats who have announced their intentions to run thus far for DA are current Clerk of Court Nancy “Lorrin” Freeman and current assistant district attorney Benjamin “BOZ” Zellinger.

The filing fee for Wake County District Attorney, which is waived if someone collects enough signatures on a petition, is $1,207.00.

Republicans who have announced their intentions to run thus far for DA are assistant district attorney Jefferson Griffin and assistant district attorney Jeff Cruden.

The Clerk of Court candidate filing fee, which is waived if someone generates sufficient signatures on a petition, is $1,140.00.

Clerk of Court candidates include Republican Jennifer Knox, currently a sitting District Court Judge. Jan Pueschel, a former Wake County Clerk of Court who ran and lost to Lorrin Freeman in a heated election in 2010, has an active campaign committee that dates back to 2002, but, as far as I’m aware, has not formally announced her desire to seek the Republican nomination for Clerk of Court this year. Barbara Moore, executive director of the North Carolina Council of Clerks of Superior Court has also announced that she is running for Clerk of Court.

Two Superior Court judicial seats are officially open seats. Unlike District Court judgeships, which are county-wide elections in Wake County, Superior Court judgeships, of which there are six, specifically drawn in Wake County around precincts and labeled 10A through 10F. The Legislature realigned Wake County’s Superior Court electoral maps in 2011. Seats 10A and 10C are technically open seats.

The following District Court Judges are up for re-election:

  • Kris Bailey
  • Michael Denning

  • Margaret Eagles
  • James Fullwood
  • Ned Mangum
  • Vinston Rozier, Jr.
  • Louis Meyer

In addition, Jennifer Knox’s seat would be open next year if she wins as Clerk of Court.

UPDATE: In addition, Allen Swaim, a Wendell lawyer, has hinted that he may run for District Attorney. A political consultant I talked to today who is working with Moore could not confirm or deny when I asked whether he is also working with Swaim.


I also got a call from a political consultant who said that Barbara Moore, who is in the process of completing her law degree and is currently executive director of the North Carolina Conference of Superior Court Clerks, is running for Wake County Clerk as a Republican. So it’s Judge Knox, Jan Pueschel, and Barbara Moore. Judge Knox has the clear edge in terms of experience, steadiness, name recognition, and competence. I did not live through the Pueschel period at the Wake County Clerk of Courts office, but everyone I’ve talked to, from clerks to attorneys to prosecutors, thinks that Pueschel would be problematic.

Former Garner mayor and criminal defense lawyer Sam Bridges is entering the Clerk of Court race as a Democrat. In addition, Blair Williams, chief assistant Clerk of Court as Lorrin Freeman’s second-in-charge, is also running as a Democrat for Clerk of Court.

The same consultant said he had another name to give me of an “outsider” who people have said “doesn’t have a snowballs chance in hell” to win the District Attorney race. When I asked whether he was referring to Allen Swaim, he said he could neither “confirm nor deny.” Swaim would also run as a Republican. So it would be Jefferson Griffin, Jeff Cruden, and Allen Swaim on the Republican ticket for DA.

Judge Croom has a huge backing thus far to take the Fullwood seat. He is facing a challenger in Charles Phillips Gilliam, who ran and lost in a 2012 challenge to Anna Worley.

Damon Chetson

Damon Chetson is a Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law. He represents people charged with serious and minor offenses in Raleigh, Wake County, and the Eastern District of North Carolina. Call (919) 352-9411.