Sara Tice retired from politics four years ago after a long stint as Iredell county commissioner and chairperson of the board.
But even though she stepped away from politics, politics never left her: "That old political blood is still there," Tice said today, standing in the lobby of a familiar place, the Iredell County Elections Office.
She was there this morning as election officials verified the signatures of 272 county residents on a petition to add a write-in candidate to November's ballot. Only 100 signatures were necessary.
Tice hopes to be the name people write-in on the ballot, and she has the strong backing of the county's GOP.
The petition - created just yesterday evening - had to be submitted with 100 verified signatures to the elections office today for a write-in choice to be added to the ballot. All those signatures - including all six Mooresville commissioners, the mayor and the county's register of deeds - were obtained in less than 24 hours.
Tice said the majority of the Iredell County Board of Commissioners is also "100 percent" behind her: "And that makes me feel good."
The one commissioner who likely isn't behind Tice's bid for county commission is Renee Griffith, the Republican candidate some people are hoping will be squeezed out of the election by adding Tice's well-known name to the list of Republican choices.
Three seats are up for grabs on the county's board of commissioners this fall. Those seats are being sought by Republicans Ken Robertson, Renee Griffith and David Boone - and now Tice as a write-in - and two Democrats, Karen Keaton and V. September McCrady.
The past 24 hours have no doubt felt like a whirlwind of sorts for Tice. She said she agreed to run at the urging of the county's Republican leadership after news became public this week that Griffith, also a Republican, had forged a county-inspection document for Cornerstone Christian Academy, where she is principal, before she submitted it to the state. Griffith also blamed her own actions on a "former employee" of the school, accusing that person - whether fictional or real - of pocketing the inspection fee and never lining up the inspection.
Tice said today: "The goal of my candidacy is to maintain the integrity of the Board of Commissioners and the reputation of the county's employees.
"I have been humbled and am grateful for the trust the leadership and good citizens of Iredell County have placed in me.
"It would be my honor and privilege to represent them again."
With only three months left in the campaign, Tice knows time is not necessarily on her side, and a write-in campaign, she acknowledged, "is difficult."
However, she said, "I have a lot of promises and a lot of great people have stepped in to help. I have been overwhelmed with the support and the phone calls I've received.
"After 18 years as a public servant, (once you step down), you miss it," Tice said. "I look forward to November's election."