The retirement of longtime District Attorney Bill Kenerly has sparked interest in the courts races on Rowan County's midterm elections ballot.
Regardless of how that race ends, voters will elect the county's first female district attorney Nov 2.
In addition, three well-known Salisbury residents are vying for the Superior Court judge position vacated by John Holshouser, who retired this past summer.
Democrat Karen Biernacki is squaring off against Republican Brandy Cook in the district attorney race.
Biernacki, an assistant district attorney, was hired by Kenerly in 1996. She lives in western Rowan County.
A Salisbury resident, Cook has been assistant district attorney in Cabarrus County for the past 10 years.
Superior Court judge
Candidates for Superior Court judge are Marshall Bickett, David Bingham and Anna Mills Wagoner.
Bickett was appointed district court judge in 2007 and elected in 2008. He has served 32 years in various positions in the court system in Rowan County.
Bingham is a Salisbury lawyer who opened his practice there in 1983.
Wagoner was U.S. attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina but resigned to run for the judge's seat. The Salisbury resident is a former District Court judge in Rowan.
Voters will have to pay special attention to their ballots in Superior Court judge voting. The position is set up for instant runoff voting, in which voters must rank their first, second and third choices for the seat.
Voters will select three of five candidates in the county commissioners race, which always draws interest.
Democrats Leda Belk, a former commissioner, and Bill Burgin, a former Salisbury City Council member, are on the slate, as are Republican incumbents Jon Barber and board vice chairman Chad Mitchell. Republican candidate Jim Sides is also a former commissioner.
In the race for the District 77 seat in the N.C. House, Republican Harry Warren is running against Rep. Lorene Coates, D-Rowan, who's running for re-election.
A Salisbury resident, Warren is human resource specialist for Tar Heel Capital Corp., a Wendy's franchise.
Coates, who is retired, has served in the N.C. House since 2001.
After an extremely crowded primary race with nearly a dozen candidates for sheriff, two longtime Sheriff's Office employees are running against each other.
Republican Kevin Auten and Democrat John Noble are friends and former colleagues.
Auten is the office's chief deputy and has served for 23 years. He was appointed to replace Sheriff George Wilhelm when Wilhelm retired in November 2009. Auten resigned in March to run for sheriff.
Noble has 30-plus years of experience in law enforcement, all with the sheriff's office. He retired in 2008. A former Republican who served under four sheriffs, he changed his registration after he retired.
Register of deeds
In the Register of Deeds race, incumbent John Brindle, a Democrat, faces Republican Harry Welch Jr. Each is running for office for the first time.
Brindle, who has worked in the Register of Deeds office for six years, was appointed in 2008 to fill the position when Bobbie Earnhardt retired.
Welch has owned Forever Young Productions since 2003 and has worked in the broadcast industry for more than 25 years.