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New Hanover County GOP recommends Dane Scalise to fill Deb Hays' county commission seat

Dane Scalise has been nominated to fill the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners seat left vacant by the recent death of Deb Hays.
Wilmington Downtown, Inc.
Dane Scalise has been nominated to fill the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners seat left vacant by the recent death of Deb Hays.

New Hanover County Commissioner Deb Hays passed away unexpectedly in late March. The county GOP's executive party can recommend a replacement appointee — but the decision is ultimately up to the Board of Commissioners, who have not always accepted the local party's recommendation.

In a statement released Thursday night, Nevin Carr — who recently took the reins of the New Hanover County Republican Party from Chairman Will Knecht — announced that Dane Scalise was the executive committee's unanimous choice.

Carr called Scalise a "respected small business owner with a strong track record in our community," and noted his service on the board of Wilmington's Chamber of Commerce, Wilmington Downtown Inc., and the New Hanover County Bar Association. Scalise was also the Deputy Commissioner of the North Carolina Industrial Commission from 2016 to 2020.

Carr wrote, "We eagerly anticipate the New Hanover County Commissioners' appointment of Dane Scalise at their upcoming meeting on Monday, April 17."

Boards of commissioners often approve the local parties' recommendation to fill vacant seats — but not always.

For example, in 2012 Republican Commissioner Ted Davis resigned to run for the State House of Representatives. The New Hanover County GOP recommended Melissa Gott — but then-Chairman Jonathan Barfield rejected the nomination over residency concerns. Ultimately the empty seat was filled by the 2012 general election.

Under state law, a board of commissioners has 60 days to fill a vacancy. After that, the Clerk of Superior Court would have the responsibility to appoint a replacement within 10 days.

Ben Schachtman is a journalist and editor with a focus on local government accountability. He began reporting for Port City Daily in the Wilmington area in 2016 and took over as managing editor there in 2018. He’s a graduate of Rutgers College and later received his MA from NYU and his PhD from SUNY-Stony Brook, both in English Literature. He loves spending time with his wife and playing rock'n'roll very loudly. You can reach him at BSchachtman@whqr.org and find him on Twitter @Ben_Schachtman.