Tough task toughened

First Posted: 1/15/2009

Emmett Brown, Hubert Covington and Mark Locklear already had a difficult assignment in trying to find a way to deny Sheriff Glenn Maynor a third term. But a decision that was made last week in Raleigh might push that pursuit hopelessly beyond their reach.
The General Assembly last week was finally able to establish a date for the May 7 primary, which will -- because state district lines were twice ruled unconstitutional -- now be held on Sept. 10. Because the primary date is so close to the Nov. 5 General Election, the legislators decided there was not time to squeeze in a runoff for any race that the top vote-getter does not receive 40 percent of the vote plus one.
The elimination of the runoff card should benefit incumbents in races with more than two candidates. And locally, that might make Maynor bulletproof.
Given that Maynor received about 70 percent of the vote in the 1998 election, a strong case could be made that he is the most popular sheriff in North Carolina. Maynor was elected by American Indians in 1994, but he was returned to office with the strong support from all three races -- a grand achievement in this county, where race always matters more than it should.
Now Maynor faces three challengers -- a black, white and American Indian -- who are likely to split the vote of those who are disgruntled with the Sheriff's Office. Maynor no longer needs 40 percent of the vote plus one; now he just needs to receive the most votes.
We believed that the only possible threat to the incumbent sheriff was for one of the candidates to force a runoff with Maynor, and then for that candidate to harvest the support of the other two challengers. That is a possibility no longer.

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