WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County Commission Chair Ted Davis is one step closer to stepping in to taking over an empty state House of Representatives seat.
Last night, the New Hanover County GOP Executive Committee appointed Davis, who is running for the seat in November, to fill the position left open when Rep. Danny McComas resigned to join the state Ports Authority, for now.
If Gov. Bev Perdue makes the appointment official, Davis, a Republican, will immediately step down from the New Hanover County Commission. That will leave his seat open and continue a domino effect in county government.
“I feel good about leaving, because I’m not leaving commissioners in a lurch as far as a major issue coming forth that someone new wouldn’t be able to handle,” Davis said.
Once Davis is sworn into the his new office, commissioners have 60 days to find a replacement. The New Hanover County Republican Party will recommend a candidate to the board, but it is ultimately up to the other four commissioners to decide who will take Davis’s place.
“We’ve heard interest from several people,” County Commission Vice Chair Jonathan Barfield said. “One person in particular, Melissa Gott, I think she’s a local attorney in town, I think she would like to be in that role to sit there. Bruce Shell, former County Manager, has been talked about.”
Davis’s appointment to the House seat now makes him the incumbent in November’s election. His Democratic opponent, Emilie Swearingen, says with the legislature adjourned, the temporary position will not help his campaign or hurt hers.
Davis agrees it won’t matter.
“I don’t want to sound conceited, but I don’t think I need this appointment to win in November,” he said. “I honestly don’t.”
County Commissioner Jason Thompson says about eight people have approached him about filling davis’s commission seat.
We reached out to the governor’s office for comment. A spokesman has not returned our call.