Candidates file for DA, sheriff, judge, clerk

Feb. 10, 2014 @ 06:04 PM

Candidates for district attorney, sheriff, judge and clerk of court tossed their hats into the ring Monday when the filing period opened at the Durham County Board of Elections.

Roger Echols filed as a Democrat in the race for district attorney. Echols is chief assistant to District Attorney Leon Stanback, who was named to complete the term of Tracey Cline when she was removed from office.

Echols alluded to the troubles in that office during Cline’s administration and before that, the disbarment of District Attorney Mike Nifong following the Duke University lacrosse case in 2006.

“I recognize that our community has been hit by legal and social challenges in recent years,” Echols said. “I care deeply about our citizens and our fine work that [Stanback] has rendered to the community. He has restored trust and dignity to the office, much of which was lost during a long period of discord. I would seek to provide further refinement and extension of his work.”

Echols said Durham needs support “against violence, illegal drugs and domestic violence, and I recognize that many in our community are unemployed, and that poverty is an issue. I will support the city and mayor’s initiatives in fighting poverty, and recognize the link between poverty and crime.”

Also filing Monday was Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews, who is seeking a full term in office.

Andrews, 55, is completing the term of former Sheriff Worth Hill, who retired in 2012.

Andrews said he wants to keep building a social media presence for his office, adding cameras to patrol cars and developing programs such as his initiative that brings juveniles to the jail for Saturday visits so they can see what incarceration is like.

In judicial races, Durham attorney Fred Battaglia Jr. filed against Nancy Gordon for her seat as a Durham County District Court judge.

Battaglia, 57, alluded to Gordon’s low rating in a recent survey by the N.C. Bar Association that evaluated judges.

“We need to raise the bar on professionalism and integrity on the bench,” Battaglia said.

A Buxton native, Battaglia has lived in Durham since 1981 and practiced law here for 28 years.

He earned his undergraduate degree from East Carolina University and his law degree from N.C. Central University.

Battaglia is a registered Democrat, but the race is nonpartisan. Gordon said she plans to file Monday.

In the race for Clerk of Superior Court, incumbent Archie Smith filed as a Democrat for a fourth term.

Smith, 63, earned his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his law degree from NCCU.

One change his office will make soon is accepting credit cards to pay a “large gamut” of legal fees and courts costs.

“Folks can pay court fees and get airline points,” Smith said with a chuckle. “We aim to please.”

Wes Platt contributed to this story.