FIRST ON WITN: Former New Bern Mayor Tries To File For District Attorney

The former mayor of New Bern wants to get back into politics in a big way.

Lee Bettis this morning tried to file in Raleigh to run for district attorney. That district is made up of Craven, Carteret and Pamlico counties, and the current D.A. is Scott Thomas.

But the New Bern lawyer will have a hurdle to overcome to get on the ballot. When he got a new license in August, records show Bettis registered as unaffiliated. Election officials now say Bettis must collect signatures of 4% of the registered voters in the three counties in order for him to get on the ballot. Those 5100 signatures have to be collected by June 12th.

Last summer Bettis was indicted for DWI, reckless driving to endanger and child abuse. Those charges are still pending and Bettis said last year he was thinking about a run for district attorney. He chose not to seek another term as mayor.

If Bettis collects the required signatures, he would then appear on the ballot as unaffiliated, not a Republican or a Democrat.

Incumbent D.A. Scott Thomas is a Democrat and has already filed for re-election.

Thomas says he isn't commenting right now about Bettis' attempts to get in the race. Thomas says if Bettis becomes a certified candidate, he'll comment then.