The municipal line-ups are set. The last morning of registration for the 2023 municipal elections brought a flurry of activity at Alamance County’s Board of Elections in at least a few races.
As previously reported, mayors in Haw River and Burlington will face challengers for re-election to their second terms.
Meanwhile, incumbent mayors in Gibsonville, Graham, Mebane, and the Village of Alamance face no opposition. Neither do incumbent council members in Mebane, Ossipee, or Swepsonville nor aldermen in the Village of Alamance.
Burlington: lots of candidates for city council will necessitate primary
Burlington will have a primary for city council on October 10 to whittle eight candidates down to the final four who will be on the ballot on November 7, from which two will be elected.
The decision of longtime council member Kathy Hykes not to see re-election brought out a record number of women candidates (five) for the two council seats on the ballot.
Among those registering to run for the two city council seats are: Mary Jensen, Cindy Lackey, Brandy Whittaker, and Robin S. Wintringham; they joined earlier filers: Charlie Beasley and Dejuana Bigelow, unsuccessful candidates (sixth and fourth, respectively) from earlier runs in 2021; former Burlington councilman Celo Faucette; and current councilman Bob Ward – the only incumbent councilman seeking re-election.
Under Burlington’s city charter, the city must hold a first round primary to pare down the field of candidates for a municipal office if the number of contenders is more than twice the number of available seats in a particular race. With two regular council seats on the ballot this fall, there was room for a maximum of four candidates in November’s general election.
Meanwhile, first-term incumbent mayor Jim Butler will face a challenge from Beth Kennett in November.
Also filing on the last day was former longtime Graham city councilman Chip Turner. Turner, then a 12-year veteran on the council, ran for the open mayor’s seat in 2021, losing to then-fellow council member Jennifer Talley, who did not draw any opposition this year.
The candidates for two city council seats, in addition to Turner, are: incumbent Ricky Hall first elected in 2019; Bonnie Whitaker, who was appointed in 2022 to replace Talley after Talley he was elected mayor in 2021; and first-time candidate Ryan Kluk.
Incumbents come forward
Thursday brought late-breaking decisions by incumbents to seek re-election: Steve Lineberry filed for Haw River town council; Dan Tichy for Village of Alamance board of aldermen; and Remonia Enoch filed for Green Level town council. Also in Green Level, former town councilman and town administrator Michael Trollinger filed for a town council seat on Thursday.
And on Friday, Sandra McCollum filed for re-election to the town council, and Stephanie L. Enoch also filed for the town council, bringing the total number of candidates for the three seats to four. Councilman Theodore Howard did not seek re-election.
Green Level incumbents Remonia Enoch and McCollum will be joined on the ballot by Trollinger and Stephanie L. Enoch.
In Gibsonville, mayor Lenny Williams, now 86, faces no challenger for another four-year term. Incumbent alderman Paul Dean, who was appointed to fill out the term of Paul Thompson who died a year ago, also drew no opposition.
For the three, regular seats on the board of aldermen, incumbents Mark Shepherd (first elected in 1995) filed for re-election, as did Irene Fanelli, who was appointed earlier this year to finish the term of Yvonne Maizland-Sturdevant after she gave up her spot on the board and moved to Virginia. Also filing were first-time candidates Darla Lawson and Tangela Mitchell.
Longtime Gibsonville alderman Clarence A. Owen, 83, who has served 16 years, since 2007, plus a 12-year tenure from 1978 to 1990, did not seek re-election.
A mayoral challenger in Haw River
Meanwhile, in the town of Haw River, a challenger recently emerged to Haw River’s mayor Kelly Allen, who was also among the first candidates to register when filing opened on July 7. The elections office reported on Tuesday that Aric V. Geda had attended to the formalities to run against Allen.
Both incumbents Patty Wilson and Steve Lineberry filed for re-election for one of the two regular council seats that will appear on November’s ballot. Earlier in the filing period, Debbie Brown emerged as challenger for one of these seats.
Competition for council seats in town of Elon
In Elon, incumbent town councilmen Monti Allison and Quinn Ray have both filed their candidacies. Meanwhile, their fellow incumbent, mayor pro tem Mark Greene, announced that he would forgo re-election at a council meeting on July 11. A day later, Michael Woods threw his hat into the ring as a third candidate for Elon’s town council and on the last day of filing, Sammareh Qawasmy filed her candidacy for one of the three seats on the town council.
Free rides to re-election elsewhere in the county
Barring write-in candidacies that could upset the apple cart, town board incumbents in four municipalities face no opposition in the November 7 election.
In the Village of Alamance, the two-week filing period drew registrations only from incumbent aldermen Barry Crouse, Daniel J. Tichy, and Tim W. Isley, while mayor Don Tichy made an early debut on the first day of filing, also unopposed.
Similarly, in the town of Ossipee, only incumbent councilmen filed for re-election: Ernest “Smokey” Bare, Billy Carter, and Edward Gallagher.
In Mebane, the first week of filing brought registrations from the city’s incumbent mayor Ed Hooks as well as incumbent council members Katie Burkholder and Sean C. Ewing. None face opposition.
In Swepsonville, incumbent councilmen Drew Sharpe and Travis Sapp have registered their candidacies without opposition.
Across the county line in Whitsett
In nearby Whitsett, incumbent councilmen Jerry Rice and Craig York filed for re-election, but incumbent mayor Richard Fennell did not. Instead, Chip Bell filed for one of the three seats on this year’s ballot.