Absentee voting begins in third district Friday

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Voters can begin to pick from among over two dozen candidates who have filed to run for an eastern North Carolina congressional seat empty since last month's death of GOP Rep. Walter Jones Jr.

Traditional mail-in absentee balloting begins Friday in the 3rd Congressional District for April 30 primaries for Republican, Democratic and Libertarian hopefuls.

Twenty-six people turned in paperwork during last week's candidate filing period to seek the seat. There are 17 Republicans, six Democrats and two Libertarians. One Constitution Party candidate already advances to the general election, which will be held in July or September, depending on whether any primary runoff is required.

GOP candidates running in the Republican-leaning district include three current state legislators. A current mayor and ex-mayor are in the Democratic primary.