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NOT MANY CANDIDATES IN THE RING ONLY 2 1/2 DAYS LEFT TO FILE FOR OFFICE

NOT MANY CANDIDATES IN THE RING ONLY 2 1/2 DAYS LEFT TO FILE FOR OFFICE

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It may be coyness, and it may be caution. Whatever the reason, the list of candidates seeking political office in Guilford County has been light.

With only 2 1/2 days left before Monday's filing deadline, competition in several races doesn't exist.No one has yet challenged District Attorney Horace M. ``Jim' Kimel Jr., a Democrat seeking re-election.

In the District 1 Guilford County commissioner's contest, incumbent Katie Dorsett, a Democrat, is the only person to have filed.

In the District 3 commissioner's contest where two seats are available, two Republicans and no Democrats have filed for the seat.

The one contest that can boast several competitors is the House District 27 campaign, where eight candidates have filed for three available seats.

Both Republican and Democratic leaders promise they will have a full slate of candidates by Monday's deadline.

Mark Ezzell, chairman of the High Point Democratic Party, says its normal for candidates to wait until the end of the period to announce their intentions. In many instances, party officials - and Ezzell says its true for Republicans as well as Democrats - don't start seeking candidates until the filing period opens in January.

In addition to being wooed, the candidates have to adjust to the idea of seeking public office; discuss their candidacies with their families and get a campaign staff. Those factors and others can result in a down-to-the-wire filing.

Ezzell, who is himself running for a House District 28 seat, said the party doesn't begin lobbying earlier for candidates because its hard to generate interest in a campaign that is months away.

Republican Party Chairman J. Van Myers also said its natural for some candidates to play a waiting game. Kumar Lakhavani, who is recruiting candidates for the county GOP, predicts Republicans in every contest by the close of the filing period.

``It's just a fluke this year (that filing is slow), because we've got one hot seat in the commissioner's race in High Point,' Lakhavani said.

Lakhavani is referring to one of the District 3 seats held by Democrat Dorothy Kearns, who has not announced whether she'll seek re-election to a second term as commissioner or seek a state House seat now held by Rep. Steve Arnold, R-Guilford.

Arnold, of High Point, has generated as much suspense, leaving voters speculating as to whether he'll seek Kearns' seat or run for a second legislative term.

The Republicans have targeted Kearns' seat and vow to defeat her. But Guilford County Democratic Party Chairwoman Ellen Emerson said that ``stalking-Dot-Kearns mentality' stems from the Republicans' fear, while Lakhavani said Kearns is afraid of Arnold and has been waiting for him to file to determine which race she'll seek.

Lakhavani said Arnold will file Friday but would not say which seat he will seek. At least two other Republicans are expected to file Friday, one for the district attorney's seat and the other to challenge Dorsett for commissioner.

And even in House District 27, where the field is teeming with candidates, incumbent Rep. Joanne Bowie, R-Guilford, has not filed. Bowie, who says she is likely to seek a second term, says she hasn't waited as part of any strategy, but as a matter of convenience.

``You talk to some folks and they say that they do have a rhyme and reason for doing what they do,' Bowie said. ``There's no reason why I have or have not filed. I just don't pick a time because I don't think it's that critical.

``I just haven't gotten around to it,' she said. ``I don't think it's important at what stage one files.'

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