to host meet-and-greet Sept. 29

Event will double as a platform for General Election candidates to make their pitch to voters

Staff report

The staff of The Pee Dee Post is hosting a Meet-and-Greet function that serves as one part introduction to Richmond County’s daily news source to the public and one part election season kickoff.

GreetFrom 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 29 at the Richmond County Judicial Center in downtown Rockingham, the public is invited to meet staff in both news and advertising, along with some of our columnists who contribute to what is

In addition to an overview of how the Post began and the types of events it does and does not (yet) cover, Managing Editor Kevin Spradlin also will discuss what it’s like to start up a new business in Richmond County — only to have it be so well-received it boggles the mind.

“The first article on was published April 28,” Spradlin said. “We had 10,232 unique visitors to the website in the month of May. Had it been only 10 percent of that, I would have been more than satisfied.”

Buoyed by strong Primary Election Day coverage on May 6, word started getting around and the number of new readers continued to increase at a staggering rate. The Post’s Facebook page has been a tremendous driver to direct new readers to

The online newspaper attracted 27,497 different readers in June that combined to generate more than 1.1 million page views. In July, a total of 32,004 individual readers visited and in August the figure jumped another 15 percent to 36,882 — which generated more than 1.74 million page views.

“The site is popular, there’s no doubt about it,” Spradlin said. “It demonstrates the need for a responsive, local news outlet that goes back to the basics of community journalism: go where the people are.”

election2014logoAlong with Spradlin, Team Pee Dee Post includes: Sharon Nichols, advertising director; ad representatives Michelle Price and Pam Dillman; graphic designer Sharlyn Elmore; staff correspondent Hannah White; and columnists Jess Heid, Jennifer Ferguson, Jay Hudson, Howard Richardson, Chris Knodel, Pastor Tommy Hill, Emily Jordan, Lenore Skenazy and Dr. James Burns, among others.

During the presentation, Spradlin will also touch on aspects of the Richmond County area that are not yet covered but in due time will be.

As for the political component of the evening’s itinerary, “it’s part of what a newspaper is supposed to do,” Spradlin said. “In fact, this is only the first of two planned events by The Pee Dee Post before election day that gives voters a chance to hear from their candidates. This isn’t the only chance for voters to meet their candidates, of course, but it’s one of the rare opportunity meet them in a neutral environment.”

Candidates who face challengers in this local election and those who are running unopposed have been invited to to participate. Between 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., each candidate receive a three-minute window to make their pitch to the crowd — readers of the Post, business owners and more. Candidates won’t be speaking the entire 90-minute window but within that time period.

Candidates who choose to participate will be grouped together by contest. Candidates who will receive invitations include:

County Commissioner

Incumbents Ben Moss, a Republican, and Democrats Thad Ussery and Don Bryant face challengers from Democrats Herbie Long and Peggy Covington as well as Republican Donnie Richardson. The six candidates are vying for four available seats on the seven-member board.


Richmond County Sheriff James Clemmons Jr., a Democrat, faces a challenge from Republican Bo Frye. The two men combined have more than seven decades of law enforcement experience. Clemmons’ time has been lock, while Frye retired from the Charlotte Police Department.

State Senate – District 25

Former Rockingham Mayor and now State Sen. Gene McLaurin, a Democrat, faces a challenge from Republican Tom McInnis, currently a member of the Richmond County Board of Education. P.H. Dawkins, of Hamlet, also is in the mix as a Libertarian Party candidate.

U.S. House of Representatives – District 8

Incumbent Richard Hudson, a Republican, faces a challenge from Hamlet native and Dobbins Heights Mayor Antonio Blue, a Democrat.


Though running unopposed, it’s important for voters to cast their ballots in support of the only candidate who threw his or her hat into the ring. For the state House of Representatives, Garland Pierce, a Democrat, is the sole candidate for District 48. Rep. Ken Goodman, a Democrat, also is running unopposed to retain his District 66 seat.

Reece Saunders, a Democrat, is running unopposed for Richmond County District Attorney in District 16C and Judge Scott Brewer is running by himself for re-election to the North Carolina District Judge in District 16A. In addition, Tommy Deense is the sole candidate for Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor.

And Clerk of Superior Court Vickie Daniel, a Democrat, defeated Peggy Roach in the May primary and also is running unopposed in the November election.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 4. Early voting begins Thursday, Oct. 23. The deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 4 general election is 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10. Absentee ballots can now be requested. Registered voters can go online here to complete an application or call 910-997-8254 and an application can be mailed to them.

There will be light refreshments. There is no cost to attend. Candidates who appear in the Nov. 4 election ballot should call Sharlyn Elmore at 910-995-4276 to confirm their attendance. Members of the public can RSVP via email at


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  • Doug Quick

    It would be great if you could stream this event online and reach many more residents who may be unable to attend. Now, that would be progressive for RCO.

  • peedeepost

    Hi Doug,

    Great idea. But for us, there’s little news value here and in a cost-benefits analysis, we’d lose out (and we are, in fact, a business).

    In a 3-minute pitch, a candidate won’t be saying too awful much. To be sure, this is an informal event with a “you gotta be there” theme.

    Now, the second event to which is hinted at in the article would be a bit more formal and much more substantive and educational for voters. If I can get the details ironed out – and if advertising supports it – that could be streamed live on the web. Time will tell.

    – Kevin

  • brenda David

    If the public have questions should they be submitted before hand or day of?

  • peedeepost

    Neither before or the day of, Ms. David. This is not a Q & A-type forum. This first venture is a simple meet-and-greet of staff from The Pee Dee Post. In conjunction with that, we are offering local candidates 3 minutes each to make “a sales pitch” of their platform.

    Questions would have to be on an individual basis, not towards the group in general.

    Our second effort we hope will be much more formal in which we would entertain questions from the public (which a moderator would direct towards the candidates).

    Stay tuned to in the coming 7-10 days to see if we can give this second event a green light.

    • Brenda David

      Thank you for your reply.

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