Last updated: June 01. 2013 12:16PM - 180 Views
Tom Joyce
Staff Reporter

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Naming a replacement for the late Sen. Don East might take until the end of this week, despite a gathering of area Republican officials today in Dobson to discuss the matter.

“It’s just a little meeting between me, the Stokes County (GOP) chairman and the Wilkes County chairman to discuss the logistics of this,” Surry Republican Chairman Dan Kiger said Saturday. Dobson was selected as the site of the meeting since it is centrally located among the three counties.

The death of East, 67, last Monday at a Winston-Salem hospital from a post-surgical blood clot has necessitated the fielding of a candidate in his place as the general election rapidly approaches. The veteran state senator from Pilot Mountain occupied the 30th Senate District seat that is at stake on Nov. 6, involving Surry, Stokes and Wilkes counties.

Along with discussing how East’s replacement will be selected, Kiger said a date will be set during today’s session for another meeting of the respective county executive committees who will have a direct role in choosing the new Senate candidate.

“We will set a date and notify Robin Hayes, the state Republican chairman,” Kiger continued in detailing the meticulous process required.

Hayes in turn will contact voting members of the various executive committees in the three counties, who actually will make the decision on East’s replacement. Kiger said voting members typically include the officers of each county’s Republican party organizations, but he lacked an exact number for those to be involved.

The state Republican Party chairman’s notification to the voting members must be by mail, which will further delay the naming of the substitute candidate.

“I would say the middle or the latter part of the week,” is Kiger’s prediction of when that selection will occur based on the timetable.

He said those involved opted to delay starting the replacement process until after East’s funeral, which was held Friday in King, in order to bestow proper respect for the longtime lawmaker and his family.

“But we want to move forward as soon as possible,” the Surry GOP chairman said of the looming Election Day.

Since the ballots for the election already have been printed and early voting had begun before East’s death, his name is remaining on the ballot.

All votes cast for the late legislator will count instead for the replacement candidate designated by the area Republican leaders.

Ric Marshall is the Democratic nominee vying for East’s Senate seat. Marshall lost to East handily in the previous state legislative election in 2010.

Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or tjoyce@heartlandpublications.com.

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