The Daily Advance is not going to make any candidate endorsements in today’s edition, but that’s not to say we don’t have opinions about the kinds of candidates residents should vote for in Tuesday’s federal, state, county and municipal elections.

There are a number of traits that all good candidates for public office should have, but a few of the most important, in our view, are these: competence, commitment, courage, collegiality, curiosity, honesty, humility, and last but not least, an overwhelming concern for the welfare of others. If you don’t have those qualities, you lack what it takes to be successful in any type of government, but particularly a local one.

Area voters are making a lot of important decisions on Tuesday. Besides deciding who from the Republican and Democratic parties should represent our state in the U.S. Senate and two congressional districts, GOP and unaffiliated voters casting a Republican ballot are also deciding nominees for several seats on the state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.

Owing to the fact there are no Democratic opponents, a number of other important public offices — district court judge, district attorney, Superior Court clerk in Camden and county commissioner in Camden and Currituck — will be filled by GOP ballot-casting voters on Tuesday. We’d ask those voters to remember the qualities we mentioned above when filling out their ballots for these positions.

In Pasquotank County, there are two commissioner primaries on Tuesday’s ballot, one Democrat and one Republican. Incumbent At-large Commissioner Barry Overman is being challenged by fellow Republicans Carl Witten and Wayne Parker while incumbent Southern Inside Commissioner Cecil Perry is being challenged by fellow Democrat Linwood Gallop. We’d ask voters to again remember the qualities we mentioned above when marking their ballots. Who seems the most competent, the most collegial, the most honest — and which candidate seems the most willing to put others’ welfare before their own?

Voters need to do the same in Elizabeth City’s races for mayor and city council. First Ward Councilor Jeannie Young, community activist and former city councilor Kirk Rivers, and conservative activist Christina Williams are all vying for the chance to become the city’s next mayor.


In the city’s three contested races for City Council, 2nd Ward voters will be choosing between incumbent Chris Ruffieux and challengers Rose Whitehurst and Javis Gibbs for two seats; 3rd Ward voters will be doing the same between incumbents Michael Brooks and Kem Spence and three challengers — former city human resource director Katherine Felton, office manager Evelyn Strader and Charles Hill; and 4th Ward voters will also be picking two councilors from between incumbent Johnnie Walton and first-time candidates Barbara Baxter, Roger Jones, Bennie Murphy, Donald Spencer and Sandra White.

Again, we’re not endorsing anyone for these seats. But we do think it’s important to look at who these candidates are, what they’ve done, and what they say they hope to do — and apply the same criteria we spoke of earlier.

Elizabeth City has a lot of serious problems: past sloppy financial accounting practices that have forced current officials to seek outside financial help to straighten out the books; aging sewer and water infrastructure that will require millions of dollars to fix; a hemorrhaging of critical personnel from the city’s employ. The city needs serious people at City Hall to address these problems going forward.

A big part of the problem why that hasn’t happened up to now has been some of the people who currently hold office or have held it in the recent past. Instead of working to move the city forward, they’ve been more interested in responding to personal slights and pursuing verbal fights with fellow councilors. The last thing the city needs in Tuesday’s election is to elect even more of these people to office — people who will pursue division just because someone is of a different race or political party. Again, we’d ask voters to look for the qualities we outlined earlier when they cast their ballots on Tuesday.

The Daily Advance