Candidate registration for this year’s municipal elections isn’t slated to start until Friday, July 2. But even though this official kickoff to the campaign season is still more than a week away, would-be office seekers have already started taking their marks in preparation for the races that will come to a head in this fall’s general election.
At this point, no one has publicly announced a bid to succeed Jerry Tolley as Elon’s mayor, although it has been a full week since Tolley announced that he won’t seek another four years in this position. In Graham, however, councilman Chip Turner has already declared his intention to run for the mayor’s seat now held by Jerry Peterman [See separate story in this edition], while Peterman remains noncommittal about his own plans for this year’s election.
With Turner pursuing a two-year term as Graham’s next mayor, there will be at least one less incumbent seeking the two regular seats that will be available on Graham’s city council this fall. In addition to Turner’s current position, this year’s election will feature a four-year term for the seat that presently belongs to fellow council member Melody L. Wiggins.
Meanwhile in Burlington, this year’s election could mark another campaign for the city’s incumbent mayor Ian Baltutis, whose seat will appear on the ballot along with two regular council positions.
The Alamance News was unable to reach Baltutis by press time on Wednesday to learn whether he’ll run for another two years in the post he has held since 2015. Nor was it able to reach councilman James B. Butler, who is also up for reelection this year. The newspaper was able to touch base, however, with his fellow incumbent Harold Owen, who confirmed that he’ll probably seek another four years on the council.
A retired member of Burlington’s city staff, Owen had served as city manager for more than a decade before he joined the council in 2017. The manager-turned council member also presently works as a consultant to the N.C. League of Municipalities, a municipal advocacy group which also provides a whole host of services for the cities and towns it represents. But even with his increasingly full dance card, Owen acknowledged that he’s inclined to seek another four years on the council in this year’s general election.
“Well, we’ve got a lot of issues; every city has a lot of issues they’re dealing with,” Owen conceded in an interview Tuesday. “I just believe that I can do some good, with the experience I had as an employee in this organization and holding the reins of the organization, and now working with the League of Municipalities.”
In addition to Owen, this year’s race for Burlington’s city council could also include political newcomer Dejuana Bigelow. Earlier this month, Bigelow submitted paperwork to the local board of elections to create a campaign committee in her prospective bid for Burlington’s city council. Her statement of organization also includes a financial disclosure report, which documents a $100 contribution that Bigelow made to kick off her campaign.
The local board of election has also received a statement of organization from Jonathan White, a prospective candidate for Mebane’s city council. According to documents that he filed in March of this year, White launched his bid for the council with a $50 donation to his own campaign.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the local elections office hadn’t posted campaign finance reports from any other potential candidates for Mebane’s city council. This year’s election will nevertheless feature four-year terms for three regular council seats that presently belong to incumbents Jill Auditori, Everette M. Greene, and Tim Bradley.
Also up for grabs in this year’s election are 18 other municipal posts in communities within Alamance County. These offices include a two-year term as mayor in the Village of Alamance – a position that currently belongs to Donald B. Tichy. Also up for reelection in the village are incumbent aldermen Naydine Sharpe, Mike Baldwin, and Gayle Andrews – each of whose seats will be available for a four-year term in this fall’s election.
In Elon, the mayor’s seat that Jerry Tolley intends to vacate will appear on the ballot alongside two four-year terms on the town’s board of aldermen, which are now held by Emily Sharpe and Davis E. Montgomery.
Two four-year terms will also be at stake in Gibsonville, where incumbent aldermen Ken Pleasants and Shannon O’Toole will be up for reelection.
Meanwhile, the town of Green Level will have four-year terms available for the seats now held by town council members Carissa A. Graves-Henry and Michael M. Trollinger.
In Haw River, voters will apportion four-year terms for two council seats – one held by H. Lee Lovette and the other which is currently vacant.
The town of Ossipee will have two four-year terms available for council seats held by Mark Whitman and Richard A. Overman, while in Swepsonville, three four-year terms will appear on the ballot for seats held by council members Henry Carrouth, John Andrews, and Wilbur Suggs, Jr.
The registration period for candidates in this year’s election will officially begin at 12:00 noon on Friday, July 2 and continue until 12:00 noon on Friday, July 16.
Related coverage: larger cities with wards or district elections may be postponed, but proposed changes do not affect Alamance County municipalities: https://alamancenews.com/legislature-may-delay-elections-in-cities-with-wards-districts-alamance-cities-towns-not-affected/