By RICK CURL
Of The Record Staff
Things got busy quickly in the Johnston County Board of Elections office Monday afternoon. It was the start of the 2018 campaign season and filing for office was at the top of the list.
It took only for the clock to strike high noon for candidates to throw their hats into the ring. Among the first was inc umbent Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell, who is seeking a return to office for the sixth time. He announced his plans to run last week.
“I love being sheriff of Johnston County and I look forward to continuing to serve as your sheriff, to ensure that the quality of law enforcement services that our citizens have become accustomed to continues,” Sheriff Bizzell said in a statement to the media last week. “I am truly blessed to have the quality of men and women who assist me daily in carrying out the office of the sheriff.”
It didn’t take long for Sheriff Bizzell to find out who would run against him in the May GOP primary.
About a half-hour later, William “Bill” Burgess of Clayton entered his bid. Mr. Burgess is a retired Johnston County sheriff’s deputy and also served with the Wake County Sheriff’s Office and the Clayton and Angier police departments through the course of his nearly three decades-long law enforcement career.
In a statement to the media last week, Mr. Burgess outlined his background and called himself a career law enforcement officer, not a politician.
“I have served for approximately 27 years in law enforcement and have dedicated my life to the profession and to serving others,” Mr. Burgess said.
The same was true for District 11B Prosecutor Susan Doyle. Ms. Doyle filed her bid to retain her office as district attorney for Johnston County Monday as well.
In a brief statement, Ms. Doyle, who lives in Clayton, said she wanted to continue the efforts of the office she has held for four terms.
“I have devoted my entire life to helping victims of crimes, and it would be an honor and a privilege to continue to serve the citizens of Johnston County,” she said. Also seeking another term in office is Register of Deeds Craig Olive.
Mr. Olive entered the race at Monday’s noon hour to seek his fifth term in the office.
Another incumbent seeking to retain office is Johnston County Commissioner for District 3 Chad Stewart. Mr. Stewart of Four Oaks was first elected to the board in 2013.
There are three seats up for election on the Johnston County Board of Education and there are some new faces seeking those seats along with incumbents.
Incumbent Dorothy Johnson of Clayton began her bid for re-election along with fellow incumbent Butler Hall of Four Oaks.
They are joined by newcomer Terri Sessoms of Smithfield.
The final day for candidates to file their intention to run in the May 8 primary election is Wednesday, Feb. 28, at noon.