Wilkes County’s representative to the North Carolina House of Representatives has been tapped to replace the late Sen. Don East on the Republican Party’s ticket for the state Senate.
Shirley Randleman, who is not seeking re-election to the House, beating out the Surry County Board of Commissioner Chairman R.F. “Buck” Golding for the party’s nod.
Randleman was named the party’s nominee during a meeting of the 30th District Executive Committee Sunday at Republican Headquarters in Mount Airy.
The meeting was held to find a replacement for East on Tuesday’s ballot. East, 67, died on Oct. 22, following complications from surgery.
The standing-room-only meeting at first yielded six candidates from the seat — Randleman, Golding, political newcomer Paula Stanley, former North Wilkesboro town commissioner Bert Hall, Stokes County educator Leon Inman and former Stokes County Board of Commissioners Chair Jimmy Walker.
Randleman faced five votes before being declared the winner, as the rules dictated that if a majority of weighted votes weren’t cast for a single candidate, the candidate with the lowest total would be dropped from subsequent votes. The counting of the votes was conducted by members of the North Carolina Republican Party, and the meeting was conducted by Scott Laster, executive director of the state party.
Golding held second place throughout each vote, ultimately losing the seat by a 60 percent to 40 percent margin.
Following the first vote, Walker was eliminated from the ballot, leaving Golding, Hall, Stanley, Inman and Randleman vying for the party’s nod.
Golding came in second during the second delegate vote as well, receiving 21 percent of the vote to Randleman’s 25 percent. During the second vote Stanley was eliminated.
The third vote also saw Randleman in the lead, receiving 35 percent of the vote to Golding’s 24 percent. During this vote, Inman was eliminated, leaving Randleman, Golding and Hall.
The fourth vote nearly saw Golding move into the lead, but Randleman pulled out the victory with 40 percent of the vote to Golding’s 39 percent. Hall, who received 22 percent of the weighted vote, was eliminated.
The final vote between Randleman and Golding saw the Wilkes County representative declared the winner, receiving 60 percent of the vote.
During her four-minute address to the nominating delegates prior to the vote, she told those assembled that East had told her he wasn’t seeking another term should he win Tuesday’s election.
“He wanted me to run in his place after this term,” she said, visibly emotional. “I stand here today with mixed emotions and sadness.”
As the party’s nominee to fill East’s seat, Randleman said she and the late senator see eye-to-eye on policy.
“I’m pro-God, pro-life and pro-gun,” she said. “I feel the citizens of the 30th District are overtaxed and over-burdened with regulations. In order to attract business, North Carolina must remain a right-to-work state and the General Assembly must continue in its efforts to rein in regulations.”
A former Superior Court clerk, Randleman said her time working in the court system familiarized her with the law, noting that she places citizens first.
“I place serving the constituents first and foremost,” she said. “I pledge to you that I will give 110 percent in this endeavor, and I’ll do everything in my power to earn your respect and confidence.”
Marshall Responds to Nominee
Democrat Ric Marshall, who will be challenging Randleman in Tuesday’s election for the seat, said a Republican vote Tuesday will be for a hand-picked candidate.
“By voting Republican in the North Carolina Senate race, voters will be accepting someone chosen by a handful of Party insiders,” he said. “That person will not have been actively campaigning and listening to the concerns of the people as I have.
“Ms. Randleman is currently serving Wilkes County in the North Carolina House, however she did not choose to run for re-election.”
Marshall alleges that in January of this year, Randleman said she would not be seeking re-election due to the time constraints placed on her by her job.
“She is currently one of the legislators who have an 84 percent disapproval rating,” Marshall said. “By voting Ric Marshall, the people of this district will have a voice in Raleigh.”
Reach Keith Strange at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.