Erv Portman has become the third Wake County commissioner to seek higher office this year.
Portman announced today he's filed for the state Senate seat now held by Republican Richard Stevens, who isn't seeking another term. Portman's candidacy means he's giving up the chance to run for the seat on the commissioners that expires this year.
Portman, a Democrat, was appointed last year to fill the opening caused by Stan Norwalk's resignation.
Paul Coble and Tony Gurley have already filed to run for higher office. But unlike Portman, the two Republican commissioners, are in the middle of their terms so they'll stay on if they don't win the May 8 primary.
One question this year is whether Republicans will increase their 4-3 majority on the board of commissioners. Only the three seats held by Democrats are on the ballot.
In District 4, Caroline Sullivan has filed to run in the Democratic primary for the seat now being held by Portman. No Republican has filed yet.
In District 5, James West has filed to hold on to the seat that the Democratic commissioner was appointed to fill when Harold Webb resigned. No Republican has filed yet.
In District 6, Democratic incumbent Betty Lou Ward has filed. Paul Fitts has filed for the Republican nomination.
The filing periods ends at noon Wednesday.
The winners of this fall's contests will likely help decide the amount of the next school construction bond issue. They'll also deal with the school system's annual budget requests.