Most area legislators to face challenges in 2016

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North Carolina House of Representatives

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Most members of southeastern North Carolina’s legislative delegation will face some sort of opposition for their seats next year after candidate filing ended today.

House members Frank Iler and William Brisson are the only incumbents who will face primary challenges. Iler, a Republican, who was appointed to the House in 2009 to finish out Rep. Bonner Stiller’s term, will face Marion Davis in the GOP primary in March for the second time. Iler defeated Davis for the Republican nomination two years ago for the 17th District seat that represents much of Brunswick County. The winner this time around will face Democrat Charles Warren, the former Republican Brunswick County Commissioner, who Iler defeated with 67 percent of the vote in November 2014.

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Meanwhile Brisson, a Bladen County Democrat in his fifth term in the 22nd District, is challenged by Ben Snyder. The primary winner has no challenge in November.

In Pender County, Rep. Chris Millis, a Republican, will again face Democrat Steve Unger next fall. Millis beat Unger with 66 percent of the vote in 2014. Millis is seeking a third term in District 16.

Rep. Susi Hamilton, who has become one of the more prominent members of the Democratic minority in Raleigh in the last year, will face Republican Jerry Benton in the fall for her 18th District seat that stretches from Wilmington across northern Brunswick County. Republican Ted Davis is unopposed for his District 19 seat in New Hanover County.

There will be at least two new members of the House from our area. Republicans Tammy Covil and Holly Grange have already started their race for the District 20 seat in New Hanover County Rick Catlin is leaving. The primary winner also wins the seat with no other candidates filing.

Like Catlin, Rep. Ken Waddell of Chadbourn is leaving the House after two terms. Republican Brenden Jones, Democrat Tim Benton and Libertarian Tom Howell will vie for his seat representing parts of Columbus, Bladen and Robeson counties. Jones challenged Waddell in 2014.

Two of the region’s three senators will face opposition in the fall. New Hanover County Republican Michael Lee will have to hold off Democrat Andrew Barnhill if he hopes to win a second full term in District 9. Democrat Jane Smith, who represents Columbus and Robeson counties in District 13, faces a challenge from Republican J.R. Britt.

Republican Bill Rabon, who has become one of the more powerful members of the Senate during his three terms representing parts of Brunswick, Bladen, New Hanover and Pender counties in District 8, is unopposed.