Runoff offers a second look at candidates

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Early voting is under way for the runoff primary between N.C. House District 23 candidates Shelly Willingham and R.B. “Rusty” Holderness, giving qualifying residents of Edgecombe and Martin counties plenty of opportunities to cast their ballots before Election Day.

The early voting period started last Thursday, and it continues today through Saturday. No-excuse, one-stop voting sites are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the D.S. Johnson Data Center, 600 N. Fairview Road in Rocky Mount, and in the auditorium of the Edgecombe County Administration Building, 201 Saint Andrew St. in Tarboro.

Qualifying voters who can’t make it to an early voting site this week can vote July 15, the date of the second primary.

This is an important election because it will determine who will become the next N.C. House District 23 representative. The incumbent, N.C. Rep. Joe Tolson, D-Edgecombe, is retiring this year.

Willingham and Holderness both are Democrats. No Republicans filed to run for the position, so the winner of this race will become the district’s next representative.

If eligible to vote in this election, don’t miss the opportunity to have a say in who is elected.

It’s exciting to see two qualified individuals from Edgecombe County step up to offer their services and seek election.

Make sure to take some time to research who they are and what they believe in. Then, take a few minutes to cast a vote this week or on Election Day.

Many challenging issues face our state and Eastern North Carolina. Now more than ever, we need strong leaders to represent us in the N.C. General Assembly and to help map a pathway to a brighter future.