Huntersville attorney Martha Efird, aided by the endorsement of the woman she hopes to replace, stormed to an apparent win Tuesday in the Republican primary for Mecklenburg Clerk of Court.
With all votes counted, Efird, a former top assistant to retiring clerk Martha Curran, led Paulina Havelka 73 percent to 27 percent. Havelka, a Charlotte attorney, also worked for Curran.
Efird said her campaign was based on a pledge to continue Curran’s work.
She said she will continue that message into her November showdown with Democrat Elisa Chinn Gary. The clerk serves a four-year term.
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“I want voters to hear about the importance of the job, how integral it is to the entire court system and how it affects every citizen in this county,” Efird said.
“I want them to understand how important it is to have someone in that office who knows and respects what it does and can carry that forward from day one,” she added.
The clerk’s staff of more than 200 handles some 300,000 legal filings a year and stores all civil and criminal court files. The office also has numerous judicial responsibilities – from the probate of wills to presiding over adoptions, incompetency hearings, condemnations and foreclosures. It also handles money collected from fines and court fees.
Curran, who has held the job since 1992, persuaded Efird to enter the race and then endorsed her. Efird, who spent 2 1/2 years on Curran’s staff, says she wants to balance the office’s personnel and technology to best serve all consumers of the courthouse, from lawyers and judges to the public.
She says her roles as a manager and legal officer under Curran give her firsthand information on the broadest swath of the office’s responsibilities.
“The Charlotte metro area has changed so much. The court system has to grow and develop with the community,” she said during the campaign.