With this year’s Nov. 6, election just around the corner, the death of Sen. Don East leaves a void on the county’s GOP ticket, and many may be wondering how the longtime Senator will be replaced.
According to county Board of Elections Director Susan Jarrell, filling the vacancy on the ticket will be up to the Republican Executive Committee of the 30th District.
“Since this is a multi-county district, the recommendation for the appointment to replace (East) will be made by the Republican Executive Committee for the district,” she said.
And Dan Kiger, chair of the Surry County Republican Party, said that executive committee is comprised of the chairs of the county Executive Committees that comprise East’s district.
“The chairmen of the three executive committees will meet, probably after the funeral to respect the family, and come up with a nomination to submit to the state party chair, and that will be the person who takes East’s position and fulfill his next two-year term,” Kiger said. “At this late date we can’t take him off the ballot, but if he wins then the person nominated will fulfill his term.”
Members of the committee will present a nomination for East’s replacement to the state party chair, who will then forward the recommendation to Gov. Beverly Perdue. Perdue will have seven days to make the appointment after receiving the committee’s recommendation.
But Jarrell said that while the governor has a concrete time frame, she isn’t sure how long the Executive Committee has to make the recommendation.
“I haven’t seen anything that gives a time frame in the statutes,” she said.
Kiger emphasized that with the election fast approaching they aren’t going to drag their feet on the appointment.
“We’re probably going to meet the first part of next week, and will announce who we choose shortly after we make a decision,” he said.
And with many absentee ballots already flowing into the elections office, Jarrell said those votes cast for East will count as a vote for the committee’s nominee.
“We’ve already received over 3,000 ballots cast through either absentee voting or early voting, and those votes cast for Mr. East will be considered votes for the person who receives the appointment from the executive committee,” she said.
Reach Keith Strange at email@example.com or 719-1929.