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As Cowan ponders whether to run, a rematch in the making

Voters in Jackson County could have a rematch in the May primary between two candidates who ran against each other for county commissioner two years ago — Joe Cowan and Darrell Fox for the district that includes Webster and Cullowhee.

It was a tight race then, with Cowan winning by 21 votes.

“It was closer than I thought it would be,” Cowan said of the race two years ago.

Fox did well considering Cowan had the incumbent’s advantage following a four-year term on the board.

Fox signed up to run for commissioner Monday (Feb. 11) — the first day candidate registration opened. Cowan had not registered as of press time Tuesday, but said he was leaning toward another run.

“I more than likely will. I just have to ponder it a little bit more,” Cowan said. Competition from challengers will not be a deciding factor, Cowan said.

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“That’s not a really a concern of mine at all,” said Cowan, 74.

While strict development regulations passed by commissioners last year could be rich fodder for a challenger (see related article), Fox has no intention of attacking the incumbents on that issue.

“When I was running the last time, I was running on land-use planning. We need some ordinances. We always have,” said Fox, 45. “I am all for going back and visiting those ordinances to see what’s working and what’s not. If anything’s not working we need to change it, but if it is working leave it alone.”

Fox is the director of Webster Enterprises, a manufacturing plant that makes medical drapes. Cowan is the former superintendent of the Jackson County School system and a history and English teacher.

Commissioners typically serve four-year terms. But this year is an exception. Two of the five commissioners are up for election after just two years to establish “staggered terms.” Previously, all five seats were up for election at the same time, but under staggered terms, two seats will be up one election cycle and three seats in the next election cycle.

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