The final day for candidate filings for 2021 municipal elections brought some surprises and significant developments.
Filing Friday morning for mayor of Burlington was councilman Jim Butler, who opted to challenge incumbent Ian Baltutis rather than seek re-election to his current council seat.
Butler has been a councilman for 12 years (2007-2011 and 2013-2021). He joins Baltutis and three other challengers – Walter Boyd, Caleb J. Massey, and Donna Vanhook – who will be on an October 5 primary ballot when voters will narrow the choices to the top two who will face off on November 2.
Another last-minute surprise is the candidacy of former mayor Ronnie Wall, who is seeking to return to the city council, this time as a regular council member. Wall was first elected to Burlington’s city council in 2005 and served two years as a councilman before being elected mayor in 2007; he served as mayor for four, two-year terms, opting not to seek re-election in 2015.
Wall will also face a primary among six candidates that voters will narrow to four. Former city manager Harold Owen, who has served one term on the council, has filed for re-election; joining him are former county commissioner Bob Byrd; and newcomers Charlie Beasley, Dejuana Warren Bigelow, and retired police officer Wendy Jordan.
In Graham, two additional candidates filed for city council Friday morning, bringing to seven the number of candidates seeking two council seats; Graham does not have a primary system to narrow the candidates, so they will all face off November 2. Filing Friday morning were Jeanette E. Beaudry and Brooke Flood. They will face first-term incumbent Melody Wiggins; Bobby Chin, a member of the city’s planning board; Joey Parsons; Daniel Alvis; and Edith J. Montoya.
Also in Graham, council members Chip Turner and Jennifer Talley are both running for mayor. Long-time mayor Jerry Peterman is not seeking re-election.
In Green Level, which had no candidates for town council as of Thursday, Friday suddenly brought a flood of candidates seeking one of two town council seats. Neither incumbent – Michael Trollinger and Carissa A. Graves-Henry, who serves as mayor – filed for re-election.
But five candidates filed for Green Level town council Friday morning: Stephanie Long Enoch, Patricia “Patty” Jones, Ida Kleiner, Doris S. Richmond, and Erwin Taylor.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, the already crowded Mebane city council race got even more crowded with the filing by Roger Parker, who becomes the sixth candidate seeking one of three open council seats.
Parker is a former member of the city’s planning board and served during part of 2016 as an appointed (Republican) member of the county’s board of commissioners. He was also an unsuccessful Republican candidate against then-state rep. Alice Bordsen back in 2010.
And in Gibsonville, former alderman Paul Dean became the third candidate seeking one of two seats on the board of aldermen on Thursday, and he was joined by a fourth candidate on Friday: Irene Fanelli. Neither incumbent – Ken Pleasants and Shannon O’Toole – filed for re-election. Also running are Paul Thompson and Bryant Crisp. Dean served one four-year term on the board (2015-2019) before narrowly losing re-election in 2019.
Earlier this week, an additional city council candidate in Burlington, the fifth, triggered a primary election for the two available city council seats that will be held one month prior to the November 2 general election. Retired police officer Wendy Jordan filed Tuesday for a city council seat, joining one incumbent and three other candidates who had already filed. They were joined by Wall on Friday.
Former city manager Harold Owen who has served one term has filed for re-election; joining him are former county commissioner Bob Byrd; and newcomers Charlie Beasley and Dejuana Warren Bigelow.
A primary on October 5 will whittle the six candidates for Burlington city council to the top four who will face off in November.
A primary has already been assured in the mayor’s race which had four candidates prior to Butler’s decision. Incumbent mayor Ian Baltutis now faces a total of four challengers: Walter Boyd, Donna Vanhook, and Caleb J. Massey, in addition to Butler.
Haw River may have a lively contest for two council seats, as well. Filing for re-election is Lee Lovette; he will be joined on the ballot by Kristin Smith, one of two candidates who sought appointment to the board in 2020, however, the board deadlocked on the appointment and did not fill the vacancy, leaving it open for this year’s election; also filing previously are Shawn Riggan and Cathy Belamy Dickens.
In Elon, alderwoman Emily Sharpe, who is up for re-election, instead filed to run for mayor. She faces Michael Woods, who filed last week; Woods ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the board of aldermen in 2019, placing fifth among the five candidates for three seats that year.
In the Village of Alamance, six candidates are seeking three seats on the board of aldermen. Naydine Sharpe and Gayle Andrews filed for re-election; they will be joined on the November ballot by Phillip C. Cheap, Lacey Steger, Elizabeth Powell, and Dale Hunt. One other incumbent – Mike Baldwin – did not file. Village of Alamance mayor Don Tichy is unopposed for re-election.
Five candidates filed for city council in Mebane for three available seats. Councilman Tim Bradley was the only incumbent to seek re-election; Other Mebane council incumbents, Everette Greene and Jill Auditori, are not seeking re-election. Bradley will face four other challengers: Katie Burkholder, former planning department employee Montreena W. Hadley, Charles Lopez, and Jonathan White in seeking one of three seats on the city council.
The race for three seats on Swepsonville’s town council remains dominated by three incumbents John Andrews, Henry Carrouth, and Wilbur Suggs. No other candidates filed.
In Ossipee, incumbent councilman Richard A. Overman faces Anderson Braxton, Sandra Boles Gregory, and Jim McAdams in a contest over two available council seats.
See earlier coverage from last week’s edition here: https://alamancenews.com/2021-campaigns-competitive-mayor-races-in-burlington-graham/