PINEHURST — Four of the five seats on the Moore County Board of Commissioners will be on the ballot this November. After the election, each of those seats will be held by a different individual than those on the board just one year ago when they were sworn into office.
In Moore County, each of the five commissioners must reside in the district in which they represent, but the election for each district is countywide. That means Moore County voters will weigh in on all five races.
The race for District I is the most intriguing, with an unusual three-way field vying for the seat: one Republican and two unaffiliated candidates are running. The current District I commissioner, Catherine Graham, announced in October 2021 that she would not run for reelection.
The Republican nominee is Jim Von Canon, who won the May 17 primary for the seat with 59% of the vote. A Moore County native, Von Canon spent 29 years in the Army before retiring in 2018. He lives in Lakeview.
The two unaffiliated candidates are John Misiaszek and Phil Vandercook.
Misiaszek is running with the endorsement of the Moore County Democratic Party and notes on his campaign website he is not accepting contributions to his campaign. Interestingly, he voted in the Republican primary in 2022. He lives in Woodlake.
Vandercook, a registered Republican, gathered signatures to qualify for the ballot as an unaffiliated candidate. He says he’s running as an “independent conservative” in the race and is also an Army veteran. According to N.C. State Board of Elections data, he registered to vote in Moore County on Nov. 16, 2021, and lives in Whispering Pines.
In District II, the other contested seat in November, Republican Nick Picerno looks to win the election for the final two years of the term he was appointed to fill earlier this year. In February, Picerno was chosen to succeed Louis Gregory, who resigned the seat. He later passed away in March.
Picerno is a former two-term commissioner (2008-2016) and commission chairman, and is set to run against Democrat Ariadne DeGarr.
DeGarr, who says she was born in New York City, is running to bring “balance” to the board by advocating for those she says are underrepresented by the current commissioners.
The District III and District V seats will be on the ballot as well, but each of the candidates in those races faces no opposition.
John L. Ritter, a Republican, is the nominee for District III after winning the May 17 primary with 75% of the vote. Ritter previously ran for Lt. Gov. In 2020. Ritter lives in Seagrove and practices law in Seven Lakes.
In District V, Republican Kurt Cook was the only candidate to file for the seat. The founder of Adaptive Recovery Wear, he lives in Aberdeen.
The League of Women Voters of Moore County and the Moore County NAACP are hosting a county commission candidate forum on Tuesday, Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m. The forum will be held at the Village Assembly Hall located at 395 Magnolia Rd. in Pinehurst.