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Four candidates filed for county and state office on Tuesday, the official â€śopening dayâ€ť for the 2012 election season.
Filing for local, county and state offices started at noon and will continue through Feb. 29. Filing for the Catawba County Schools Board of Education lasts from June 4 to July 6.
Three candidates filed for Catawba County Board of Commissioners, including incumbents Barbara Beatty and Dan Hunsucker. Challenger and former Maiden councilman Kevin Spiva also formally entered the race.
Republican Steve Graves, a Hickory resident, also intends to run for a commissioner seat, but he did not file Tuesday.
Other county offices up for election include the Catawba County register of deeds.
In state filing, incumbent N.C. House Rep. Mitchell Setzer formally entered his name in the race for the stateâ€™s 89th district seat. He has served seven terms in the House.
State Rep. Mark Hilton (R-Catawba) is the incumbent for the stateâ€™s 96th district, but announced earlier this year he will not seek re-election. Real estate professional Andy Wells announced in December 2011 that he intends to run for the seat, but did not file Tuesday.
In the state senate, Sen. Austin Allran (R-Catawba, Iredell) is the incumbent for the stateâ€™s 49th district. That seat is up for re-election.
All county and locally elected state candidates must file at the Catawba County Board of Elections, said elections director Larry Brewer.
Each candidate for county and locally elected state offices must be a registered voter of the same political party in which he or she intends to file. An individual changing party affiliation must do it 90 days prior to the date the candidate files, according to information provided by the county.
In addition, a candidate must be at least 21 years old to run for a county office. Candidates must be at least 30 years old to run for N.C. Senate and at least 25 years old to run for N.C. House.
There are various filing fees for the different offices up for election.
The filing fee for county commissioner seats is $90.
â€śThe fee is based on one percent of the starting salary of that office,â€ť Brewer said recently.
To file, Brewer said candidates can simply appear at the elections office located inside the Catawba County Government Center in Newton.
State and federal offices
In addition to the offices of president and vice president, area voters will elect U.S. representatives for the nationâ€™s fifth and 10th districts.
U.S. Reps. Virginia Foxx and Patrick McHenry are both incumbents for the seats.
State offices of the governor and the entire council of state are up for re-election, too.
Incumbent Gov. Bev Perdue announced in January she would not seek re-election.
Two seats on the district 25 court judge bench are also up for election.
Buford Cherry and Gary Dellinger currently hold the seats. All judges file with the N.C. Board of Elections.
Catawba County Schools board
The seats of three Catawba County Schools Board of Education members â€” Chairwoman Joyce Spencer, Stephen Hilton and Marilyn McCree â€” are up for election in 2012.