Ocracoke’s county commissioner, Tom Pahl, standing, speaks at the community meeting on Sept. 29 in the Berkley Barn. Pahl announced that he will not seek reelection. Photo: C. Leinbach

Ocracoke’s county  commissioner, Tom Pahl, announced today that he will not run for re-election in 2020.

He is making this early announcement because the candidate filing period for the 2020 general election will begin at noon Monday (Dec. 2) and end on Dec. 20 and he wants others considering running for this position to know his intentions.

Information on candidate filing procedures is provided below.

Two other county commissioners, Earl Pugh Jr (Lake Landing Township) and Benjamin Simmons III (Fairfield Landing) are up for reelection. Neither got back to the Ocracoke Observer to indicate if they will run again. They may reveal their intentions at Monday’s (Dec. 2) county commissioners’ meeting at 6 p.m. via video-conference at the Community Center. 

The following is Pahl’s statement:
The Ocracoke seat on the Hyde County Board of Commissioners will be up for election in November of 2020. That’s a year away and it’s going to be an eventful year, I’m certain. I am looking forward to working with our fantastic community and the good people of Hyde County, as we make our way through this period of recovery from Hurricane Dorian. I have decided, however, that I will not seek another term as county commissioner. I’d like to share my thoughts about that decision with all of you who have been so supportive of my efforts over the last three years and especially over the last three months.

I made this decision long before Hurricane Dorian blew ashore and I am glad to have a full year ahead before I step down, so that I will be able to follow through on the recovery efforts we have implemented since the hurricane.

I have decided not to run for only one compelling reason, and that is the amount of time it takes to be Ocracoke’s commissioner. I run a business that I am not yet ready to wind down, and I have family members here and afar who I’d like to share more of my time with.

Being the Ocracoke commissioner is a demanding task that has paid me well in personal satisfaction and in the thanks and support of my neighbors and community (plus $4,300/year). Those intangible rewards have been well worth the effort I have put in, but I simply do not have the time or the energy to set aside for another four years.

Why am I announcing this now? Because we are coming up to a filing period, starting Dec. 2, through 20, during which those who may wish to run for this position (or any office coming up on the November 2020 ballot) will need to file a Notice of Candidacy with the Hyde County Board of Elections.

I feel that it is only fair to be open about my intentions, so that anyone who might be thinking about running for Ocracoke Commissioner will know my plans. There are, in fact, other ways to get on the ballot next November, including filing as a petitioning candidate, or as a write-in candidate, but neither is as seamless or as easy as simply filing a Notice of Candidacy within the required period.

I have great respect for my fellow commissioners, for the Hyde County staff and in particular for Chairman Earl Pugh and Hyde County Manager Kris Noble.

It is an honor to be a part of Hyde County’s government, and above all, it is an honor to be a part of the Ocracoke community. We are working through a very difficult time and we are doing it with grace and dignity and good humor. My announcement now does not mean, in any way, that I will let up from my efforts.

I have every intention of continuing to be Ocracoke’s Commissioner until a little over a year from now when another dedicated Ocracoke person will take the reins.

The candidate filing period ends Dec. 20. So those wishing to run for local elected seats need to decide now and file their paperwork.  

The Hyde County primary election will be held March 3 with the nationwide general election Nov. 3.

The following seats will be on the ballot. Incumbents are in parentheses:

  • County Commissioner: Fairfield Township (Benjamin Simmons III)
  • County Commissioner Lake Landing Township (Earl Pugh Jr)
  • County Commissioner: Ocracoke Township (Tom Pahl)
  • Board of Education At-Large: two seats (Randy Etheridge and Thomas Whitaker)
  • Board of Education Ocracoke: One seat (Angela Todd)
  • The three sanitary districts each have two seats.

Filing fees are $42 for county commissioners and $5 for all other seats.

Candidates must submit required paperwork (Notice of Candidacy) along with the filing fee by the Dec. 20 noon deadline.  

Among the requirements, a candidate must be a registered voter of Hyde County, reside within the seat’s township and be at least 21 years old on Election Day.

For more information, contact the Hyde County Elections Office: 252-926-4194; P.O. Box 152 1223 Main St., Swan Quarter, NC  27885

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