A Gaston County commissioner says he will enter the race for the 109th N.C. House seat left open with the October death of Dana Bumgardner.
Republican Ronnie Worley, who was elected to a second, four-year term on the county commission in 2020, is the third Republican who says they'll compete for the seat that represents southeastern Gaston County.
Gaston County Republicans picked former Gaston County Commissioner Donnie Loftis to fill the remaining portion of Bumgardner's fifth term in October.
Members of the Gaston County GOP Executive Committee picked Loftis over Worley and Lauren Bumgardner Current, the daughter of the late representative, to fill out the remaining term. Current will also run for the seat in 2022, she said.
The filing period for the 2022 elections begins Monday, Dec. 6, and ends Friday, Dec. 17.
Worley, a former mayor of Cramerton and retired state Highway Patrol trooper, would have to give up his seat on the county commission if elected to the state House, but would be able to finish out his term on the county board if voters do not elect him to the state House.
“This campaign will be about accountability and getting government working again," Worley said in a Nov. 23 release stating his plans to run. "As we come out of the pandemic, we have seen too many systems in government fail. We need to get state government working again. We need a focus on citizen service – not mandates and extended executive emergency powers.
“Government at every level is failing the average citizen and average family,” Worley said.
Worley said his focus in Raleigh would be on transportation, education and law enforcement.
A Gaston County native, Worley was graduated from South Point High School in 1983. He’s been married to his wife, Lynne, for almost 33 years. Worley is a member of Friendship Baptist Church in Belmont. He was a member of the North Carolina Army National Guard from 1982 to 1988.
Loftis, who retired after 30 years with the Army and Army National Guard, served on the Gaston County Board of Commissioners from 2000 to 2004 and from 2008 to 2012. He has also lost two elective bids for the 109th House race in 2004 and 2012.
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This article originally appeared on The Gaston Gazette: Gaston County commissioner plans for state House bid