Featured photo (L-R): Alan Perdue, Stephen Arnold, Pat Tillman, George McClellan, Dan Suter

Two incumbents, a former school board member, a former town council member and a project manager are vying for three seats in this year’s Guilford County Commission primaries.

The Guilford County Board of Commissioners is comprised of nine total seats, including a chairperson and vice chair who are chosen every December to serve the upcoming year. Commissioners are responsible for adopting the annual county budget and establishing the property tax rate as well as adopting local laws. During the pandemic, the county commissioners also acted as the county Board of Health to pass mask mandates countywide.

Commissioners serve staggered four-year terms and are elected by district and at-large on even numbered years.

This year, seats for at-large, District 2, District 3 and District 7 are up for grabs. In District 2, two Republicans — incumbent Alan Perdue and Stephen Arnold — face off in the primary for a chance to take on Democrat Paul Meinhart in the November general election. In District 3, Republicans Pat Tillman, George McClellan and Dan Suter will vie for votes to face Democrat Derek Mobley in November.

Candidates are listed alphabetically by last name. Incumbents are listed first.

Early voting for the primaries begins April 27. Primary election day is on May 17.

Guilford County Commissioners District Map 2022


District 2 makes up the southernmost portion of Guilford County near Pleasant Garden as well as areas of the west including parts of High Point and Jamestown.

There are only Republicans in this primary.

Alan Perdue (i)

Two-term incumbent focused on infrastructure with minimal spending

Incumbent Alan Perdue has represented District 2 since first being elected in 2014. As a two-term incumbent, Perdue said that he wants to continue using his experience as a first-responder to serve his community. When he was 16 years old, Perdue joined the volunteer fire department and eventually rose through the ranks within the Department of Emergency Services to become director in 2003. As someone who has served on the frontlines, Perdue said that the current staffing levels in departments that provide essential services is one of his biggest concerns.

“The county must continue to evaluate their ability to compete and attract qualified personnel in order to meet the demands placed upon them by the public,” he said.

During his tenure, Perdue said he’s been proud of overseeing projects like the building of the new emergency services facility, the new animal shelter and the new behavioral health facility all without raising property taxes.

Keeping property taxes as low as possible and maintaining a business-friendly environment through limited regulations is high on the list of priorities for Perdue. He also wants to make sure the county’s infrastructure is adequately maintained while thoroughly evaluating expenditures.

As a former first responder and a Republican, Perdue expressed his full support of local law enforcement. When asked about his thoughts on the Jan. 6 insurrection and whether or not he agrees with former President Trump on the falsehood that the 2020 election was stolen, Perdue did not give a clear answer.

Stephen Arnold

Former county commissioner with strong conservative views

Candidate Steve Arnold is a well-known entity amongst conservative circles in Guilford County as he served as a county commissioner for two decades. During his tenure, Arnold was seen as the board’s strongest conservative voice, an aspect that he told TCB he would bring back to the board if re-elected.

“I’m running to place a liberty agenda on the table in Guilford County government,” Arnold said. “It means no tax increases and no social engineering in schools.”

Arnold was first elected as a county commissioner in 1991 and served until 2010. Prior to becoming a commissioner, Arnold was a High Point city councilmember from 1985-88 and served in the NC General Assembly from 1988-90. In his 20 years as county commissioner, Arnold said that helping to make the downtown ballpark and the veterans memorial in Triad Park a reality were two of his successes.

Compared to his opponent, Alan Perdue, Arnold said that he was the better option to push back against Democrats who are “taking over institutions at an alarming rate.”

He noted how he opposes critical race theory (which is not taught in public schools), “outrageous bond proposals,” health mandates as well as restrictions on religious liberty. He said he supports school choice and law enforcement agencies.

In terms of how to handle the budget, Arnold said that “politicians don’t need help… to spend more of someone else’s money on anything.” He opposes the recent move by the board to allocate $2 million to the expansion of the International Civil Rights Museum but said he supports adequate funding of law enforcement agencies. Arnold said he does not support the $1.7 billion school bond that’s on the ballot nor does he support the sales tax increase that would help to pay for the bond.

Arnold also outrightly rejected the characterization of the Jan. 6 insurrection as such.

“There was no insurrection,” he said. “I believe it’s a sad day in America when Americans cannot protest peacefully.”

Instead, he advocated for more discussions about the events of Jan. 6 which would “lead to a better understanding of each other, so that individuals do not feel compelled to act out in ways that bring tangible harm to themselves and others.”


District 2 starts in the center of Greensboro and makes its way up towards the northwestern portion of Guilford County near Oak Ridge and Stokesdale.

There are only Republicans in this primary.

George McClellan

Former Oak Ridge town councilmember critical of school funding

While candidate George McClellan did not respond to TCB’s emails for this piece, during a March 15 candidate forum at Kickback Jack’s in Greensboro, McClellan talked about his support of first-responders and his experience on Oak Ridge’s town council.

He touted voting on 10 budgets as a member of town council without increasing taxes and said he would do the same if elected as county commissioner. He also said he would give sheriff’s deputies a raise and would support reasonable requests from the school board but that the “money must follow the child.”

In recent weeks, McClellan has come under fire from progressives for pushing for an audit of the school district, stating in a press release that “it is appropriate to do a financial review of where our county schools stand financially and to ensure money isn’t being wasted.”

Dan Suter

Project manager who touts his business skills

According to Dan Suter’s social media posts as well as his talks during the March 17 candidate forum at Kickback Jack’s, Suter is using his background as a project manager to differentiate himself from his opponents.

“Business project managers, they strategically plan, they tactically implement projects in a well-organized format for the best use of the dollars allocated in the most efficient manner within schedule and within scope that was actually outlined to produce the product, service or result that benefits you as the people,” Suter said in a Facebook video posted on March 14.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Suter is a senior project director for LabCorp, a position he has held for almost 15 years. Prior to that, he worked as a program manager for Gilbarco Inc.

During his speech Suter noted that he has professionally been a business project manager for more than 30 years and is thus able to work with large budgets.

Pat Tillman

Veteran and former school board member focused on a “renaissance”

Those well-versed in local politics will be familiar with Pat Tillman, who up until very recently, served as a school board member for District 3, a seat he won in 2016. During his tenure on the school board, Tillman was a conservative who got along with his Democratic colleagues and would vote not always vote along party lines. Now, Tillman has his sights set on the board of commissioners so that Guilford County can experience a “true renaissance.”

Tillman said he wants Guilford County to be the most business-friendly county in the southeast, the safest county and the cleanest and most welcoming county in the region.

“My vision is to do this in a collaborative fashion with fiscal responsibility, whilst getting the most value for our tax dollars, grants and whatever monies that may come under our purview,” he said.

Job creation and retention as well as building and maintain public schools rank high on Tillman’s list of priorities. He said he views the two as inextricably linked.

“Empirical evidence and current data shows that in order to attract and retain a high-functioning workforce we must have a robust pipeline of career-ready students ready for these challenges,” he said.

As far as school funding goes, Tillman said that he wants to “challenge the status quo with regard to how we finance the building and renovating of schools.”

“Conventional school bonds are what we rely on today but as a county and a state legislature we must explore more fully alternative and sophisticated funding models like lease/lease-back agreements and P3 schools (public, private partnership schools),” Tillman said.

He told TCB that he believes more of the budget should be spent on the health services, education and public safety. When it comes to police reform, Tillman said the idea is flawed.

“Where police departments and sheriff’s offices have been marginalized and/or monies reallocated (defunded) for social experimentation, those communities have been hurt the worst,” Tillman said.

Instead, he advocated for attracting and retaining officers and holding them accountable.

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