David Patneaude’s decision to run for the McDowell County Board of Education now leaves a vacancy on the Board of Elections.

Patneaude resigned as a member of the county Board of Elections on Monday, the same day he filed as a candidate for the county Board of Education. A Republican, he was also the election board’s chairman.

As a result, the McDowell County Republican Party will need to select a new person to replace him on the Board of Elections. And this appointment has to be done pretty soon, said Haskell Davis, chairman of the local GOP.

“There’s a whole lot that’s going to go between now and the primary,” said Davis, who is a former county commissioner.

Davis said to The McDowell News he does not have a person lined up yet to replace Patneaude on the Board of Elections. But he said he would speak to a potential replacement Tuesday.

Davis said he was informed by Patneaude on Monday of his decision to run for the Board of Education and step down from the Board of Elections.

“It was a surprise to me,” said Davis. “I didn’t know he wanted to run for the School Board.”

Davis will then hold a meeting with the local Republican Party’s Executive Committee on making the final selection.

The county Board of Elections consists of three members. The other Republican on the board is Tom Cline. He was selected by the local party to replace the late Rex Wood. Dean Buff is the Democratic member and is also the secretary.

Davis said the local board can have two Republicans because the governor of North Carolina is a Republican. The opposite would be true if the governor was a Democrat.

In addition to picking a new member for the elections board, the local Republican Party is planning to hold its county convention on Feb. 20 at the Marion Community Building and get ready for the March 15 primary.

Usually, the primary would be held in early May.

But Gov. Pat McCrory recently signed legislation passed by the N.C. General Assembly that moves everything up a lot sooner. This legislation moves the primary in North Carolina to March 15, instead of May.

This change is intended to make sure North Carolina voters will have a greater influence in choosing the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees, according to published reports.

“It puts a strain on trying to get everything done quickly,” said Davis.

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