With this year’s Nov. 6 election just around the corner, the death of N.C. Sen. Don East leaves a void on the county’s GOP ticket, and many may be wondering how the longtime senator will be replaced.
East’s name will still appear on the ballot, as early voting has already begun. According to Stokes Board of Elections Director Jason Perry, selecting someone to fill East’s position in case he were to win would be up to the Republican Executive Committee of the 30th District.
Virginia Smith, chair of the Stokes County Republican Party, said that committee is comprised of members of each county’s executive committees. Those members would come from Stokes, Surry and Wilkes counties.
The committee will come up with a nomination to submit to the state party, according to Perry. That person would take East’s position if he were to win another term based on his name still being on the ballot.
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.
Smith said the committee has to come up with a recommendation before the swearing in near the start of the year. The committee had not yet set a meeting date as of Tuesday afternoon.
Dan Kiger, chair of the Surry County Republican Party, emphasized to media sources 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, those votes cast for East will count as a vote for the committee’s nominee. Perry said he had not encountered this type of situation yet in his time with the Board of Elections.