Ray Pickett, a Blowing Rock Republican, announces his candidacy for NC House District 93 on Dec. 5.

BOONE — A Blowing Rock inn owner will challenge for the N.C. House District 93 seat as Ray Pickett officially filed to run on the morning of Dec. 5.

“I felt like I could add something to the state legislature, it’s always been in the back of my mind,” Pickett said after filing. “In the last few weeks, when the filing period was coming forward, it just dawned on me it’s time to step up, put my foot in the door and see what happens.”

Pickett, a Republican, is the owner of the Blowing Rock Inn in the town of Blowing Rock and previously served on the Blowing Rock Town Council until December 2017. In November, Pickett finished third in his bid to win one of two contested seats on the Blowing Rock Town Council.

Pickett said he’s thought about running in his time knowing Sen. Deanna Ballard (R-Blowing Rock) and former N.C. House District 93 representative Jonathan Jordan.

The incumbent, Boone Democrat Rep. Ray Russell, filed for re-election on Dec. 2.

Ballard said she was going to file for re-election either Dec. 5 or 6.

Jordan, who lives in Jefferson in Ashe County, made his future political ambitions clear on Dec. 2 when he filed to run for Ashe County Board of Commissioners.

“I want to continue my public service to Ashe County and I thought this would be a fantastic way to do it,” Jordan told the Ashe Post and Times.

Three have filed to contest the three open seats on the Watauga County Board of Education. Ronald (Ronny) Holste, former board member Jason K. Cornett and outgoing Boone Town Council member Marshall Ashcraft.

“It is with humility that I place my name as a candidate for the Watauga County Board of Education,” Holste said in a Dec. 4 statement. “It is my purpose to be a steward for the parents, students, teachers and administrators of Watauga County Schools. As a candidate, it is important that I adequately introduce myself and convey my aspirations and drive to serve our students.”

“I feel very blessed to have been raised and live in Watauga and to have the opportunity to take part in our local government,” Cornett said in a Dec. 5 statement. “Most of my life has been dedicated to public service and I feel it is important to be active in our communities.”

“I am running for the Board of Education because I want to support the continued improvement of an excellent school system, one that is blessed with exceptional school personnel, great leadership, wonderful students and a supportive community,” Ashcraft said on Dec. 5. “Nothing is more fundamental to our future than a strong system of public education and I hope to contribute to its success here in Watauga County.”

On the first two days of filing, several local candidates officially declared their intentions for office. Carrington Pertalion, a Democrat, was first in line as she filed for Watauga County Commissioners District One, the seat currently held by Republican Perry Yates.

Later, Watauga County Commissioners Chairman John Welch, a Democrat, signed up to run for his District Two seat. Watauga County Commissioner Charlie Wallin, representing District Five, is seeking re-election.

Amy Shook, a Republican, filed for re-election to Watauga County Register of Deeds on Dec. 2.

Filing runs through 12 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 20. Candidates have from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each weekday until then to file.

No candidates have filed for the newly-configured and approved U.S. House of Representatives Fifth District as of 11 a.m. on Dec. 5.

The new N.C. congressional maps were approved on Dec. 2 and the filing period was immediately opened. U.S. Congress candidates must file at the state elections office in Raleigh.

All three incumbents in the 24th N.C. Judicial District, consisting of Watauga, Avery, Mitchell, Yancey, filed for re-election on Dec. 2. Hal Harrison of Spruce Pine, Rebecca Eggers-Gryder of Boone and Ted McEntire of Spruce Pine signed up at the state elections office in Raleigh. All three incumbents are Republicans who serve alongside Larry Leake, a Democrat from Marshall who won re-election unopposed in 2018. Each judicial seat is contested individually.

In North Carolina, several federal offices will be contested in 2020. U.S. president, U.S. senator, N.C. governor, N.C. lieutenant governor, N.C. attorney general, N.C. auditor, N.C. commissioner of agriculture, N.C. commissioner of insurance, N.C. commissioner of labor, N.C. secretary of state. N.C. superintendent of public instruction and N.C. treasurer will be contested in partisan elections.

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