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Hoke County Sheriff Candidate Embroiled in Battle

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RAEFORD — Hoke County sheriff candidate Jim Davis is fighting to get his Independent opponent's name off the November ballot. Davis took his campaign to the North Carolina Board of Elections Friday and leveled charges against opponent Wayne Gardner and the Hoke County Elections Board.

Democratic sheriff candidate Jim Davis says some Hoke County residents were coerced by deputies into signing a petition that put Independent candidate Wayne Gardner's name on the ballot for this coming November's election.

Gardner, currently a chief deputy with the sheriff's department, chose to run after his boss lost in the May primary.

"Many people called our office and it's general conversation within the county," said Davis, when asked about his charge that people were coerced.

The state board of elections asked Davis to produce affidavits stating that the petition signers were pressured, he could not.

Members of The county elections board say that's because there is no proof.

"We have no affidavits or anything that he alleged," said Scott Poole, county board member. "We have absolutely no complaints whatsoever. He had no affidavits to prove what he was saying, he had none at all, so it's very ludicrous."

Davis says he doesn't trust the county elections board to run a fair election. He also alleges ongoing harassment, intimidation, and racial divisiveness.

The State Bureau of Investigation is looking into those allegations.

No official action was taken, but the state elections board will ask the SBI to notify them if they find any election law violations in the course of their criminal investigation.

"That's what we came seeking," said

Some residents say what Davis is seeking has gotten way out of control.

"I think it's a joke," said "He is just a big cry-baby. He's been crying to everybody that will listen."

Davis says he is going through the proper channels to address his concerns.

A spokesperson for Gardner says he is not aware of any deputy who pressured people into signing the petition.


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