The May 8 primary election is a classic intramural, with competition heating up between Democrats eager to take on Republican incumbents in Congress in an act of revenge against Donald Trump and his supporters. The anticipated “blue wave” election has also energized the Democratic primary for Forsyth County sheriff, with jostling to take on Republican incumbent Bill Schatzman.

In state legislative races, redrawn district lines and heartburn over the state sales tax is driving inter-party competition. Further down the ballot, the top position in the district attorney’s office is open for the first time in 12 years in Guilford County, while the two urban school board seats are open in Forsyth County.

Early voting is already underway, with eight locations across Guilford County and balloting taking place at the Forsyth County Government Center in downtown Winston-Salem. On April 30, the Forsyth County Board of Elections opens additional early-voting locations in Kernersville, Rural Hall, Lewisville and the Southside Branch Library in Winston-Salem. In both counties, early voting runs through May 5, a Saturday. On May 8, the official election day, voters can exercise their franchise at polling places in their local precincts. For specific times and voting locations, visit the two county boards of elections at and

5th Congressional District

Republican primary (vote for 1)

Virginia Foxx (i): Foxx was considered a hardline conservative when she was first elected to Congress in 2004. With the GOP’s continual rightward drift, Foxx has moved into the party’s leadership, holding the position of secretary of the House Republican Conference from 2013 to 2016. Foxx still holds clout as chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and will be difficult to dislodge with $3.0 million in cash on hand. The Foxx campaign is so flush that her committee has been able to afford to shift a total of $325,000 during this campaign cycle to the National Republican Congressional Committee to support other GOP candidates.

Dillon Gentry: Neither of Foxx’s Republican challengers raised enough for any campaign-finance reports to show up on the Federal Election Commission site. First up, Dillon Gentry, a 25-year-old Marine Corps veteran from Avery County who works in telecom sales. He says the political culture in Washington is compromised by “toxic partisanship and identity politics.” While expressing some libertarian tendencies, Gentry argues that the country’s regulatory framework needs to be shifted to support the middle class: “I feel fine saying on the record that trickle-down was a failed experiment. We need to turn to a middle-class-out system.”

Cortland J. Meader Jr.: A 53-year-old cardiovascular invasive specialist with from Davie County who teaches at Forsyth Tech, Cortland J. Meader Jr. is on his third career after starting a retail store chain and then designing and building homes as a general contractor. Meader says he has a healthcare plan, which sets him apart from any other Republican in Congress, including Foxx. Like Gentry, Meader says he would apply common sense instead of voting the GOP party line. “My immigration plan differs from most of Republicans,” he says, “because I don’t believe in building that wall.”

Democratic primary (vote for 1) (previous coverage)

DD Adams: Many Democrats, including Josh Brannon and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Board member Elisabeth Motsinger, have gone down in flames trying to take on Foxx. DD Adams, who is serving her third term on Winston-Salem City Council, has raised $131,969 for the endeavor. Adams’s progressive platform includes raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, legalizing marijuana, adopting a Scandinavian-style rehabilitation approach to curb mass incarceration, creating a path to citizenship for eligible DACA recipients, single-payer healthcare and gun-control measures like reinstating the assault-rifle ban.

Jenny Marshall: An Indiana transplant and social studies teacher, Jenny Marshall is, like her primary opponent, a Winston-Salem resident. Both have been running vigorous campaigns since early 2017, and Marshall has raised $120,094. It’s hard to tell which candidate is more progressive. Marshall’s platform includes raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, taking “marijuana off the federal government’s list of outlawed drugs,” banning for-profit prisons, allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain legal status, single-payer healthcare and gun-control measures like banning bump-stocks and high-capacity magazines.

6th Congressional District

Democratic primary (vote for 1) (previous coverage)

Ryan Watts: A 28-year-old business consultant from Burlington, Ryan Watts is one of two Democrats vying for the chance to take on Republican incumbent Mark Walker — whose April 20 fundraiser in Irving Park received an assist from Vice President Mike Pence. As in the neighboring 13th Congressional District, the two major political parties are diametrically opposed on gun control. While Walker signed a 10-point conservative pledge to “protect our Second Amendment freedoms,” Watts says he supports universal background checks and closing the gun-show loophole, as well as making it illegal for citizens to own so-called “weapons of war.” Watts, who has raised $103,204, says he wants to bring back “a spirit of collaboration in Washington,” while promoting an agenda that’s fiscally responsible and socially inclusive.

Gerald Wong: A truck driver inspired by Bernie Sanders, Gerald Wong favors single-payer healthcare. Wong’s work schedule has made it difficult to make it to some campaign events. He says he’s spending his retirement “motorcycle fund” to pay for his campaign, and hasn’t raised enough money to date to require filing reports with the Federal Election Commission. Like Watts, Wong accuses the GOP of stoking fear about Democrats taking away people’s guns. “The military’s not gonna come and overthrow us,” he says. “There’s no zombie apocalypse. I’m sure if there is, the government will open up the armories so we get firearms.”

13th Congressional District

Democratic primary (vote for 1) (previous coverage)

Adam Coker: Considered the most competitive Republican-held seat in North Carolina, the 13th Congressional District is viewed as a big prize in the Democrats’ effort to retake the US House. Ted Budd, owner of the ProShots shooting range, carried the district by 12.2 points in 2016. Adam Coker, a long-haul truck driver, placed third in the Democratic primary that year. He’s been campaigning for the seat practically since the last election. Coker is known for showing up, from the vigil after Charlottesville to the recent tornado relief effort in Greensboro. A populist inspired by Bernie Sanders, Coker’s progressive platform includes overturning Citizens United, gender pay equity, Medicare for all, investing in renewable energy, and ending the war on drugs and mass incarceration. On the issue of guns, Coker favors strengthening background checks, banning bump stocks and regulating high-capacity assault rifles. As the son of a murder victim, Coker argues he’s the one who can defeat Budd.

Kathy Manning: Despite Coker’s legwork, he’s not the establishment’s choice to take on Budd. Soon after declaring her candidacy in December 2017, Greensboro philanthropist Kathy Manning raised $561,891, and quickly earned the backing of the Democratic National Congressional Committee through its “Red to Blue” program. Manning has raised $1.2 million in all, and her campaign war chest is almost twice as big as Budd’s. She touts her experience as a community leader and business person as an asset in bringing people together and promoting economic development. The candidate doesn’t shrink from addressing gun control. “We need to do what we can to make sure we don’t have guns in the hands of felons, terrorists, spousal abusers and people who would harm children,” Manning told TCB. “To do that, we need to address high-capacity magazines, ban bump stocks, and introduce universal background checks.”

State Senate District 31

Republican primary (vote for 1)

Joyce Krawiec (i): Under court-ordered redistricting, the suburban Forsyth County Senate District 31 swapped out Yadkin in favor of Davie County, forcing incumbent Joyce Krawiec into a Republican primary with fellow lawmaker Dan Barrett. A former organizer with the tea party-affiliated FreedomWorks, Krawiec has represented District 31 since 2014. Her social conservative bona fides are unquestionable: Krawiec, who describes herself as “unwavering in the war against abortion,” spoke at a rally in February 2017 calling on Congress to defund Planned Parenthood. The Kernersville lawmaker gets high marks from pro-gun groups, including an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association.

Peter Antinozzi: An assistant professor of biochemistry at Wake Forest University, Peter Antinozzi carried 10.3 percent of the vote in a three-way Republican primary with Krawiec in 2016. He likes to say that in 2016 there were two challengers opposing one incumbent, and this year there is one challenger opposing two incumbents. Antinozzi argues that the General Assembly hasn’t adequately addressed education, healthcare and jobs due to distractions from “bathrooms” — a reference to the General Assembly’s March 2016 vote to prohibit transgender people from using the bathroom that accords with their gender identity — “and legal battles on election districts.”

Dan Barrett: A lawyer by profession, Dan Barrett of Advance serves on the Senate Select Committee on Judicial Reform and Redistricting, which has been discussing options for redrawing judicial district lines in North Carolina, even after the General Assembly has gotten slapped down by the courts for unconstitutional racial and partisan gerrymandering. A former Davie County commissioner, Barrett was appointed to represent Senate District 34 in 2017.

State House District 58

Democratic primary (vote for 1)

Amos Quick (i): A pastor, former executive director of the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club and former Guilford County School Board member, Amos Quick won election to the District 58 seat after defeating the late Ralph Johnson in the 2016 Democratic primary. Quick, who was appointed Democratic freshman vice-chair, filed 117 bills in his first term based on a philosophy that he articulates as “show the people the laws you would pass as the majority.” He says he’s proud of his role in the “Raise the Age” law passed last year to end prosecuting juveniles as adults.

Kate Flippen: A master of public health candidate at UNCG, Kate Flippen says she was motivated to run by the desire to expand Medicaid in North Carolina. One of her priorities is protecting women’s right to choose, and she wants North Carolina to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. Like Quick, Flippen wants to increase funding for public education. And like Quick, Flippen emphasizes the importance of Democrats and Republicans working through their differences to serve the common needs of North Carolina’s people.

State House District 59

Republican primary (vote for 1) (previous coverage)

Jon Hardister (i): Hardister was first elected to the state House in 2012 after the Republicans redrew district lines to allow their party to pick up one seat in Guilford County. Now serving as majority whip, Hardister took some heat from progressive constituents over HB 2. Along with bills to protect children from identity theft and relax regulations on churches providing shelter to homeless people, Hardister says he’s most proud of his role in the General Assembly’s 2013 tax overhaul and the 2017 “Brunch Bill,” which allows local municipalities and counties to opt in to alcohol sales at restaurants on Sundays beginning at 10 a.m.

Karen C. Albright: Albright says when she filed she thought she was running in neighboring District 58, and didn’t expect to run against two fellow Republicans. That’s understandable: The courts redrew the lines shortly before filing. Albright says she tried to withdraw, but then decided to mount a campaign after all. Instead of going to Raleigh to pursue her own personal agenda, she says she would consult with constituent groups like the police, and then vote according to their wishes.

Mark McDaniel: A former state senator who served in the 1990s, Mark McDaniel is mark mcdanielrunning on one issue: The 2013 Republican tax overhaul. While the bill reduced personal income and corporate rates and eliminated the estate taxes, it offset revenue losses by introducing sales tax for services like auto maintenance, plumbing and air-conditioning repair — what McDaniel calls a “misery tax.” Hardister counters that the tax overhaul lowered working families’ overall tax burden, allowing them to keep money in their pockets for emergencies.

Guilford County District Attorney

Democratic primary (vote for 1) (previous coverage)

Avery Michelle Crump: District Attorney Doug Henderson’s retirement this year opens the seat for the first time in 12 years. With no Republicans filing, the winner of the Democratic primary is all but guaranteed to take office. Avery Crump worked as an assistant district attorney in Guilford County before her election as a district court judge in 2008. Crump said she wants the staff in the district attorney’s office to undergo implicit bias training, and said during a candidate forum on Sunday that she witnessed disparate treatment of district court defendants based on race. “I’ve seen some stuff from some of the district court ADAs that I don’t agree with,” Crump said. “And when I don’t agree with something, believe it or not, I’m bold enough to say, ‘I’m not gonna accept this plea.’ Or, ‘Why is this person being offered that when I know you just offered someone else something different?’”

Stephanie Reese: Reese, who has worked in the district attorney’s office for 17 years, said she follows former District Attorney Jim Kimel’s philosophy: “Rehabilitate where we can, and prosecute where we must.” She says implicit bias training might help less-experienced prosecutors, but the district attorney’s office really needs to analyze its case files to determine whether people of color and white defendants are being treated equitably. She wants to institute a veterans court, like Forsyth County has, to “address the underlying cause of what gets people in a position where they are just cycling through the system.”

Forsyth County Sheriff (previous coverage)

Republican primary (vote for 1)

Bill Schatzman (i): A former FBI agent, Bill Schatzman has served as Forsyth County bill schatzmansheriff since 2002, when he defeated incumbent Ron Barker in the Republican primary. During his 16 years in office, Schatzman has largely avoided scandal, although the county was forced to pay out $96,000 to a former deputy who was fired less than a year after returning from military service in Iraq in 2013, and a string of medical-related deaths has generated widespread concern. “This is a full-service, accredited law enforcement agency,” Schatzman says. “There’s no difference between this agency and the NYPD or LAPD. We recruit the same quality of people. We test them the same way mentally, and physically and intellectually.”

Ernie Leyba: Leyba worked for the Los Angeles Police Department in the 1990s and then for the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office through 2002 — the year Barker was defeated — before going to work for the Durham Police Department. “My main motivation is to go back into law enforcement,” said Leyba, who now works as a driver for Harris Teeter supermarkets. “I miss it a lot. It’s a pure adrenaline rush.” Leyba cites his experience in street patrol, crash investigation, gang enforcement, highway interdiction, narcotics enforcement, and even going undercover as a narc in a high school, as useful in bringing a front-line focus to the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.

Democratic primary (vote for 1)

Clif Kilby: Kilby retired from the sheriff’s office in 2011 as a supervisor with 30 years of service. Kilby ran as a Republican in 2014, finishing the primary with 8.2 percent of the vote. His switch to the Democratic Party has more to do with election odds-making than ideology, and he has stated on his campaign website: “My beliefs would be the same as beliefs if I was registered in another party.” Kilby wants to expand the school resource program to assign a deputy in each of the elementary schools in the office’s patrol jurisdiction. He says he will hold the company responsible for healthcare in the jail accountable.

Bobby Kimbrough Jr.: A retired special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, bobby KimbroughBobby Kimbrough Jr. made a dramatic introduction in early March with an article in Forsyth Woman indicating that his wife had been addicted to opioids at the time of her death in 2005. He promises to tackle the opioid crisis by beefing up the narcotics unit and forging partnerships with federal agencies. Kimbrough’s position on one important enforcement area — internet sweepstakes parlors — is unclear, and he hasn’t responded to multiple requests for comment from TCB. His position on the issue is significant because to date $10,000 out of $11,000 in his reported campaign contributions come from individuals linked to the industry, which made a concerted push to lobby state lawmakers for deregulation in 2012.

Tim Wooten: Like Kilby and Leyba, Tim Wooten is a former employee of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office. Wooten received the Rufus Dalton Award for Valor from the Winston-Salem Foundation in 2009 after keeping his patrol car in the path of a drunk driver to protect a road crew on Interstate 40. The next year he was fired without explanation. Now a private investigator, Wooten first joined the sheriff’s office in 1985. He claims to have established the office’s crime-scene unit — a fact disputed by Schatzman and Kilby. In the interim, he’s served as chief of police for the town of Cooleemee, and returned to the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office for a second stint. Wooten wants to reinstate the crime-scene unit, expand the school-resource program and put more resources into narcotics enforcement.

Guilford County Sheriff (previous coverage)

Republican primary (vote for 1)

BJ Barnes (i): Barnes was elected sheriff in the Republican wave election of 1994 that made Newt Gingrich the speaker of the House. Barnes has handily defeated challengers in Democratic-leaning Guilford County, while using his clout to boost fellow Republicans, including former Gov. Pat McCrory and Donald Trump. Despite sometimes tough rhetoric on immigration, Barnes is now publicly battling US Immigrations Customs Enforcement by refusing to honor detainers. With immigration off the table, the biggest issue in the election is Barnes’ decision to let his agency’s accreditation with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies lapse. “The only thing CALEA does is it gives you a scapegoat when things go wrong,” Barnes says.

Steve Parr: A former Guilford County Sheriff’s deputy, Steve Parr pledges to add 24 steve parrdeputies to patrol. Barnes scoffs at the idea that Parr could get funding from the county to pay for it or effectively reassign personnel to cover the positions. Parr readily acknowledges that as a young state trooper he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault during a traffic stop. “At the time I thought I was using just about the right amount of force necessary to affect the arrest,” he says. “Looking back, I’m sure I could have done things differently.”

Democratic primary (vote for 1)

Therron “TJ” Phipps: A retired Greensboro police captain, Therron “TJ” Phipps is at the therron tj phippsforefront of a trio of Democratic candidates calling on the sheriff’s office to rejoin CALEA. “It goes towards all aspects, including crime prevention and implementing non-discrimination practices,” said Phipps, who served as an assessor for CALEA and commander of Watch Operations during his time with the police department. “It enhances professionalism.” Phipps is currently suing the police department and former Chief Ken Miller for discrimination.

Danny Rogers: A former Guilford County sheriff’s deputy and former High Point police danny rogersofficer, Danny Rogers carried 43.9 percent of the vote as Barnes’ Democratic opponent in the 2014 election. Rogers expresses a sense of empathy towards those who are consumers of law enforcement services and those who are on the other side of the badge. He also wants to bring back DARE, or Drug Abuse Resistance Education. “I grew up in the 27260 [ZIP] code,” he said at a candidate forum on Sunday. “That’s one of the codes over there they said that young men of color was at risk, that we would not come out of that community.”

James Zimmerman Sr.: A retired Guilford County sheriff’s deputy, James Zimmerman Sr. james zimmermanwants to reaccredit the agency through CALEA, as do Phipps and Rogers. This isn’t Zimmerman’s first rodeo: The genial candidate finished last in the 2014 and 2006 Democratic primaries. Zimmerman says he wants to instill a more personable ethos in the deputies if he’s elected sheriff. “I want to make the deputies more friendly — what they should be,” the candidate said. “The sheriff works for the people in the county. You’ve got to get out in the community and find out what the people’s needs are.”

Forsyth County Commission, at large

Republican primary (vote for 1)

Jimmie Boyd: Jimmie Boyd calls himself a constitutionalist, a political identity synonymous with the far-right patriot militia movement and Second Amendment advocacy. In fact, Boyd helped organize the Patriot Network Summit, a national gathering of patriot activists at Jomeokee Campground near Pilot Mountain this past weekend. It’s hard to know exactly how Boyd’s far-right politics would play out in local government, but he says most commissioners don’t appreciate the hardships experienced by ordinary working families and he wants to “bring power back to the people.” In fairness, Boyd has cultivated a dialogue with Black Lives Matter activist Andre Gregory, but the candidate’s far-right activism also tends to the extreme: He acknowledged in an interview that he and a group of associates provided security for a so-called “anti-sharia” rally in Raleigh last year that drew the white supremacist group Identity Evropa. And in a March 28 Facebook Live broadcast, Boyd retailed a discredited hoax that Stoneman Douglas High School student David Hogg is a “crisis actor.” In the same broadcast, Boyd warned that progressive gun-control advocates are provoking a “civil war.” “Progressives don’t realize there’s only about 770,000 oathed-in police officers [and] federal agents,” Boyd said. “How many millions of Second Amendment Americans are there? They’re in a battle they can’t win.”

Buddy Collins: The winner of the Republican at-large primary will take on Democrat Ted Kaplan in November. The at-large seat has toggled between the two parties. Kaplan unseated Republican Dave Plyler in 2006, and then lost to the late Bill Whiteheart in 2010. Then Kaplan took the seat back in 2014. While Boyd finished last in a bid for the county commission in 2012, lawyer Buddy Collins has a track record of winning elections in the county, having served on the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Commission for 15 years. In 2013, Gov. Pat McCrory appointed Collins to serve on the state Board of Education, a seat he’s relinquishing in his bid for county commission.

Forsyth County Commission, District A

Democratic primary (vote for up to 2) (previous coverage)

Everette Witherspoon (i): Everette Witherspoon has held one of the two District A seats representing most of Winston-Salem on the Forsyth County Commission since edging out the late Beaufort Bailey by 113 votes in the 2010 Democratic primary. Witherspoon says his proudest accomplishment over his two terms is establishing a Nurse-Family Partnership in Forsyth County to support “low-income, first-time parents whose babies face risks such as low birth weight and premature birth,” along with increasing the ratio of nurses to students in Winston-Salem/Forsyth Schools. Witherspoon argues he’s the candidate who was closest to the late Earline Parmon, who was a political powerhouse in Winston-Salem. “Me and Earline was Batman and Robin,” he says.

Fleming El-Amin (i): A community leader, former chair of the county Democratic Party, former member of the local board of elections, Fleming El-Amin was appointed to fill the unexpired term of longtime commissioner Walter Marshall, who died suddenly in 2017. District A residents will have the opportunity to vote for up to two candidates, who are all but guaranteed to holds the seats since no Republicans filed to run. El-Amin said his proudest accomplishment to date is persuading his fellow commissioners to rename the county social services building after Marshall.

Tony Lewis Burton III: As CEO of Northwest Child Development Centers, which operates tony burtonthe Mudpies daycare centers, Tony Lewis Burton III is a nonprofit leader with a penchant for quoting motivational speakers. From his office at the Downtown East location, Burton is strategically situated to witness the burgeoning development of the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter and to think about how it might help or hurt the predominantly African-American neighborhoods to the east. But the primary legacy of Mudpies Downtown East, which has been heavily subsidized by the city of Winston-Salem, is that the financial difficulties will likely result in the operation being turned over to the Sunshine House daycare chain.

Tonya McDaniel: A protégé of the late Earline Parmon, Tonya McDaniel is making her first tonya mcdanielrun for elected office. An officer of the Winston-Salem NAACP, McDaniel demonstrates a marked concern about racial equity in criminal justice matters. She was spotted in court on Monday for a hearing about a request for the release of police-body camera video in the fatal shooting of African-American man by a Winston-Salem police officer. She said she is concerned about the quality of healthcare in the county jail. “Going to jail shouldn’t be a death sentence,” she says.

Guilford County Commissioner, District 2

Republican primary (vote for 1)

Alan Perdue (i): After retiring as Guilford County’s emergency services director, Alan Perdue won election to represent the new District 2, a strange, serpent-like animal that runs along the southern length of the county, up through High Point and Jamestown, out to the airport and then into conservative neighborhoods of Greensboro. The district was drawn in 2011 as part of a General Assembly scheme to give Republicans control of the county’s governing body. Perdue, who lives south of Greensboro, says he was proud to support the expansion of the Family Justice Center into High Point, and also prides himself on “reducing the property tax rate while increasing funding of essential services like education, public safety and economic development.”

Ashley Tillery: A nonprofit executive, Ashley Tillery would likely give High Point a stronger voice on the county commission as a resident of the city. Tillery’s campaign manager is Brandon Lenoir, a political science professor at High Point University who successfully shepherded the campaigns of four candidates for High Point City Council last year, including Mayor Jay Wagner. Tillery says the Family Justice Center remains “stuck in the planning stage” and she would “be a strong voice for moving this project forward.” In a recent Facebook post, Lenoir sought to capitalize on discontent with the county commission’s refusal to support the High Point stadium project, urging the voters to go with his candidate.

Guilford County Commissioner, District 8

Democratic primary (vote for 1)

Skip Alston (i): For many, the name Skip Alston conjures a whiff of controversy stemming from his role in founding the International Civil Rights Center & Museum, maneuvering on the Renaissance Community Cooperative and other real estate deals. Not enough room to explore any of those episodes here, but voters should know that Alston is the longest serving commissioner in Guilford County history, and holds the distinction of being the first African American to chair the board. Alston retired from the commission after 20 years in 2012, and then was appointed by the Democratic Party to fill Ray Trapp’s unexpired term in 2016. Alston says he is focused on improving wages through incentives in the private sector and raises in county government, expanding opportunities for African Americans to contract with the county, and promoting a bond to build new schools.

Fahiym Hanna: A small-business owner who opened Sensuous Scents on Bessemer Avenue, Fahiym Hanna came up with the Correct Priority Society model wherein people work up to 14 hours a week on projects that meet public aims like replacing old water lines, and in turn their needs for food, water, shelter, infrastructure and education are met. That’s basically his sole issue, and in discussion about other issues he brings the conversation back to CPS as a radical overhaul for the local social order. “There wasn’t a lot of interest from the current county commission,” Hanna told TCB. “There certainly is now.”

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Board, District 1

Democratic primary (vote for up to 2) (previous coverage)

Alex Bailand Bohannon: Incumbents Victor Johnson Jr. and Deanna Taylor are retiring, opening the two seats in District 1. As with District A on the county commission, there are no Republicans in the race, so the top two vote-getters in the Democratic primary effectively win the seats. Alex Bohannon, a 23-year-old graduate of Elon University, is one of Johnson’s two picks. All five candidates want to end Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools’ School Choice student assignment plan, which effectively re-segregated the system in the mid-1990s. While sharing his opponents’ critique of the structural components that keep largely poor African-American and Latinx students concentrated in failing schools, Bohannon also says educational leaders need to change the “narrative” that stigmatizes those schools.

Barbara Hanes Burke: An assistant principal at Carver High School, Barbara Hanes Burke brought the fire during a candidate forum at the Central Library on April 9. “We have eight elementary schools in this system… that are flat-lining,” Burke said. “Out of 1,114 elementary schools in the state of North Carolina, Ashley Elementary is at the very bottom. They are 1,114…. One of our core values in this system is equity. Another one is student-centered. If we are going to put these words on paper we have got to put some actions in place to show that is what we mean.”

Eunice Campbell: A longtime parent volunteer, Eunice Campbell comes across as a little more polished than Burke but doesn’t concede any fight on the school assignment plan. “Quite frankly, that’s something that can’t be justified, and shouldn’t have been implemented to begin with,” she said. “It’s part of the systemic racism culture that is a part of our school culture — our district culture. Our schools are segregated, and that’s plain and simple. It has affected our students; it’s one of the reasons for our achievement gap.”

Chenita Barber Johnson: Johnson is on the same page with her opponents about the need to mothball the School Choice Plan, but she has a concrete proposal that might win over suburban, white parents by improving cost efficiency. Johnson says the district should consolidate students into fewer schools to achieve racial and socioeconomic proportions that more closely reflect the county. “That will integrate the students naturally,” she said. “They won’t have to do busing or anything of that nature, which tends to put a lot of people off.”

Malishai (Shai) Woodbury: A Winston-Salem native who works as an equity trainer for neighboring Guilford County Schools, Shai Woodbury is incumbent Victor Johnson Jr.’s second pick to fill the two vacant seats. Woodbury says school leaders need to obtain community buy-in to undertake school desegregation, proposing a community task force. “And let us think holistically together as human beings to progress beyond School Choice,” she said, “and to bring our community together so that our school district is a success for all of our students.”

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Board, District 2

Republican primary (vote for up to 4) (previous coverage)

Lida Calvert Hayes (i): Although two Democrats — Marilynn Baker and Rebecca Nussbaum — have filed in suburban District 2, the district heavily favors Republican candidates. With five candidates vying for four seats in the Republican primary, it’s essentially a game of pulling the chair out from whoever comes in last. A painting contractor from Winston-Salem, Lida Calvert Hayes was appointed by the school board to fill the unexpired term of Jeannie Metcalf in 2015. Hayes has parlayed her contracting experience to a position on the board as chair of the building and grounds committee, and expresses pride in the successful passage of a $350 million school bond in 2016.

Dana Caudill Jones (i): A business owner and former member of the Kernersville Board of Aldermen, Dana Caudill Jones was first elected in 2014 to the school board, where she serves as chair. Like her colleague Hayes, Jones counts the 2016 school bond as an achievement, and also says she’s proud of working with Superintendent Beverly Emory to support low-performing schools. She says her current goal is to bring the local teacher supplement in Forsyth County to the top in the state.


David B. Singletary (i): Like Jones and Clark, David Singletary was first elected to the school board in 2014, replacing a wave of Republicans who opted for retirement that year. Along with Democrat Elisabeth Motsinger, who will be on the ballot seeking reelection to her at-large seat in November, Singletary, who lives in Germanton, was one of two members who voted against closing Hanes-Lowrance Middle School, arguing that the fears about contaminants under the school were overblown. His skepticism aligns him with many urban school advocates who worried that Hanes-Lowrance’s closing will contribute to a pattern of hollowing-out school attendance in Winston-Salem.

Lori Goins Clark (i): Running for her first term in 2014, Lori Goins Clark of Lewisville vowed to maintain the School Choice assignment plan, recalling that her involvement in school politics dated back to her opposition to forced bussing as an eighth grader in 1983. “My parents did not want me to be bused across town to a different school,” she said. “They were debating whether not they would make West Forsyth a four-year high school. And so I appealed to the school board as an eighth grader, soon to be ninth grader: ‘Please don’t bus me. Make West a four-year high school so that I can stay in my neighborhood and go to a neighborhood school — so that I have a choice.”

Leah Crowley: A longtime parent volunteer from Winston-Salem, Leah Crowley was the only Republican candidate running in District 2 who showed up for an April 9 candidate forum hosted by urban school advocates. Incidentally, she’s also the only challenger in the Republican primary. Crowley expressed support for the School Choice plan. “When you as a parent can be involved in your child’s school because it’s right down the street or a short drive away,” Crowley said, “you’re more likely to be engaged in that school, invest in that school and be a part of your child’s education.”

Guilford County School Board, at large

Democratic primary (vote for 1)

Alan W. Duncan (i): Few, if any, local elected officials have served continuously for as long as Alan Duncan and no one has held a longer tenure as chair of governing board. A lawyer who lives in Greensboro, Duncan was first elected to the Guilford County School Board in 2000. The fact that his colleagues have selected him as chair continuously since 2002 is a testament to Duncan’s pacific manner and consensus-building style in a Democrat-dominated county balanced by strong conservative voices from suburban and rural areas.

Tijuana B. Hayes: A retired teacher, Tijuana Hayes of Greensboro previously served as president of the Guilford County Association of Educators. Last year, Hayes made a bid for Greensboro City Council in a crowded at-large field, placing 12 out of 15. Hayes couldn’t be reached for this voter guide and doesn’t have any campaign materials on the web, but in a previous interview she noted with pride that she’s a life member of the Greensboro NAACP. “These seats don’t belong to anyone,” she said. “As long as we’re law-abiding and honest, we have just as much right to run as anyone else.”

Keith McInnis Sr.: High Point resident Keith McInnis Sr. has worked as an assistant principal in Lexington and Charlotte. He wants to rotate school board meetings throughout the county, including High Point, Jamestown and Browns Summit, to give parents better access. Teachers and other school employees need a raise, even if it means coming up with the funds through a local supplement, McInnis said. “There’s no reason why a bus driver or a teacher that works full-time for Guilford County Schools should need a part-time job,” he said. “That one job should be enough to take care of their families.”

Guilford County School Board, District 4

Republican primary (vote for 1) 

Linda Welborn (i): Linda Welborn, who has served on the board since 2012, is one Republican who hasn’t been swept up in the mania over charter schools. “They continue to constrict public education, the movement of money, just about every aspect,” she told NC Policy Watch last year. “They’re not giving us more flexibility. They’re doing the boa constrictor on us.” Since the Parkland massacre, Welborn has played an active role in the debate over school safety. While supporting police assignments in schools, Welborn adds, “In most of these situations, there were reports [of troubling behavior] and there wasn’t enough done to interact with the individuals to possibly de-escalate the situation. We need to do a better job when someone seems to be a threat of getting that individual help.”

Will Marsh: A financial advisor from McLeansville, Will Marsh describes himself as “big on school choice and North Carolina charter schools,” while acknowledging that funding for charter schools is determined by the General Assembly, and a seat on the school board largely provides a bully pulpit for advocacy. He also concedes that Guilford County Schools already has a lot of programs to accommodate children with different learning styles. “I don’t take a hard, aggressive stance on, ‘We want to do this or we want to do that,’” he says. “It’s more about listening. I think a lot of people don’t feel heard and listened to on issues.”

Democratic primary (vote for 1)

Desirée Best: Democrats are challenging every single Republican up for re-election to school board this year, although in District 2 Democratic challenger Greg Drumwright and Republican incumbent Anita Sharpe won’t be on the ballot until November. Desirée Best of Browns Summit retired as a teacher in Guilford County Schools in 2013, but continues to volunteer as a tutor. “I believe there needs to be a voice that comes from a teacher’s perspective — that creates a bridge between teachers and the board,” she says.

Adrienne Nicole Spinner: A parent advocate, Adrienne Spinner filed literally at the last minute after another candidate backed out. She founded an activist group called Women for a CAUSE (Christ-like Activism for Unconditional Social Equality), which has tackled racial equity in education and environmental issues. Spinner opposes charter schools and is concerned about the quality of drinking water in schools. Earlier this week, Spinner visited Reedy Fork Elementary, which is absorbing students from Hampton Elementary who were displaced by the recent tornado, to welcome students and lend moral support to teachers.

Guilford County School Board, District 6

Democratic primary (vote for 1)

Chris Hocker: Two Greensboro Democrats are looking for an opportunity to unseat Republican Wes Cashwell, who won election to the school board in the newly drawn District 6 in 2016. Chris Hocker operates a travel and culture website. He has two children in Guilford County Schools who receive special education services, and formed a nonprofit, Autism Unbound. Hocker says he wants to use his experience advocating for students with special needs to help all students, families and teachers in Guilford County Schools.

Khem Denise Irby: Khem Denise Irby relocated from New York City to Greensboro, bringing her advocacy as a parent with her. Irby was the Democratic nominee in 2016, when she garnered 45.3 percent of the vote, compared to 54.7 percent by Republican Wes Cashwell. Irby is deeply skeptical of charter schools based on her children’s experience in New York City, and is also concerned about the school-to-prison pipeline. As a member of Parents Across America, Irby says, “Parents are the most important part of educating their children. It’s important to have a parent voice on the school board.”

Guilford County School Board, District 8

Democratic primary (vote for 1)

Deena Hayes (i): Deena Hayes describes herself as “an organizer that is serving in office, not a politician,” and says she would rather be behind the scenes, but she since her election to the board in 2002, she has ascended to the position of vice-chair. As a professional antiracism trainer, Hayes has made closing racial gaps in academic achievement and discipline an unrelenting focus. In the aftermath of Parkland, Hayes says she’s wary that the narrative around school safety will switch to school discipline, with inordinate attention focused on black and brown students. If the school system fails to reckon with white privilege, she warns, additional law enforcement and mental health resources won’t do any good.

Laverne Carter: For the first time since her inaugural run in 2002, Deena Hayes is facing opposition. Laverne Carter has long monitored Guilford County Schools, and has previously served as education chair for both the Greensboro NAACP and the Pulpit Forum. She leads a community task force called Community Call Action Student Success Education with Greensboro City Councilwoman Goldie Wells and parent advocate Lissa Lowe-Harris. Carter has advocated for children with exceptional needs, and wants to decrease the number of students who are suspended and pushed into the school-to-prison pipeline.

William (BJ) Levette: As the parent of a child at Swann Middle School, BJ Levette says he wants to advocate for teachers while addressing the needs of under-served schools. Like his opponents, Levette would be wary of assigning more police in schools to address safety concerns, and instead wants to review facilities to ensure that all schools have properly locking doors and buzzer systems to regulate entry. Levette also says he wants to change the dynamic on the board so that Superintendent Sharon Contreras can do her job without being micro-managed.

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