By Peter Vankevich

Randal Mathews, a Democrat, was the sole candidate to file by toda

Randal Mathews

’s noon deadline to run for Ocracoke Township’s Hyde County commissioner. Incumbent Tom Pahl, a Democrat, recently announced he would not seek reelection.

In a surprise development, current commissioner and chairman of the Board of Commissioners, Earl Pugh Jr, a Republican, representing Lake Landing Township, reversed his announcement at the Dec. 2 county commissioners meeting not to run for reelection and filed his papers today. He was not available for comment.

“I wanted run out of a feeling of civic duty and feel I can contribute,” Mathews, a CenturyLink network technician,  said Friday afternoon in a phone interview. “I know it’s a tough job. I’ve served seven years on the tax board, three years on the Health Center board and on the fire department board in the ’80s. So, I know what it’s like to be, you know, to take your political beatings.”

He said he thought long and hard in the last couple of weeks about running and got positive feedback from people he talked to about it.

“I’m excited and apprehensive at the same time,” he said, adding he was pleased that Pugh decided to be on the ballot again. “Earl’s a knowledgeable guy and I think we’re on the same page. We want to do what’s right for our communities and for Hyde county.”

Mathews said he would have a detailed statement soon on his candidacy and thoughts on why he is running.

Incumbent Ben Simmons III, a Republican, filed for reelection for Fairfield Township and was also the only candidate to file for that township.

Since Mathews, Simmons and Pugh are unopposed in their respective parties, their names will not be on the March 6 primary ballot, but they will be on the November ballot. Uncontested seats do not appear on the primary ballot.

However, for Pugh’s Lake Landing district, Thomas Midgette, Barbara Gibbs and Marsha Gibbs filed their paperwork as Democrats. The three candidates will be on the March 6 primary ballot to determine who will run against Pugh in November. 

Swan Quarter, held by James “Little Brother” Topping and Currituck held by M. Shannon Swindel, both Democrats, will be up for election in 2022.

Current members of the Hyde County Board of Education Thomas Whitaker and Randy Etheridge filed to run for the two at-large seats. No other candidates filed.

The Ocracoke Sanitary District has two open seats and only one, Scott Bradley, an incumbent, filed.
The Engelhard and Swan Quarter Sanitary Districts also have two open seats and just one person filing, Jo Ann Spencer (Engelhard) and Wayne Hodges (Swan Quarter). These seats will permit a write-in on the ballot.

For the two regional General Assembly seats, Senate District 3 incumbent Bob Steinburg (R-Edenton) filed for reelection and is unopposed. Tess Judge (Kill Devil Hills) has filed as a Democrat and is also unopposed. The two will square off in November.

For House District 6, Bobby Hanig (R-Powells Point) will have a primary challenger, Rob Rollason (Kill Devil Hills). Tommy Fulcher (Southern Shores) is the sole Democrat that filed.

Unaffiliated candidates have until March 3 to file papers and signatures in order to be listed on the November ballot.

For more information regarding elections, contact  Viola Williams, Elections Office director, 252-926-5280, or by email:

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