Heated partisan elections will define Election Day in many areas, but some Orange County candidates aren’t feeling the pressure. Tuesday’s ballot includes eight uncontested elections, all controlled by Democrats.
Six of the seats are for county offices, one is for district attorney and the final seat is for N.C. district court judge.
While the Democrats hold these offices, the Republicans struggle to find candidates to challenge them.
“The reason they're uncontested for the county seats is the fact that we found nobody who wanted to run at this time,” said Edward Zapolsky, vice chairman of the Orange County Republican Party. "Nobody stepped up to the plate to fill those posts.”
Bob Joyce, professor of public law and government at UNC, said uncontested races in general elections are common.
Usually, these races are contested in primary elections between members of the same party, but once the candidate wins their party nomination, they move to the general election unchallenged.
“More typically, you have nominees for both parties, but it certainly happens that one party or the other simply doesn't have a nominee,” said Joyce. “Usually that happens where it seems extremely likely that the nominee of one party or the other will be elected.”
Joyce said Orange County’s strong Democratic presence deters Republicans from running — the odds are just too low.
For candidates on the ballot, running in a general election uncontested provides benefits beside the obvious advantage of a guaranteed win.