Wednesday, February 28, 2024

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Graham, NC 27253
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Primary set for Burlington council; challengers file against mayors in Burlington, Haw River

Deadline to file is Friday at noon

The race for Burlington’s city council reached a critical mass this past week as the emergence of two new candidates put the overall number of contenders over the threshold to trigger a primary ahead of November’s general election.


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.

Also, in Burlington, Mary Jensen, became the eighth candidate to file for Burlington city council.  As noted elsewhere, a primary will be held October 10 to whittle the number of candidates to the top four who will be on the ballot in November.

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Deadline for filing is tomorrow at noon.

Since last week’s edition of The Alamance News hit the streets, Brandy Whittaker, Cindy Lackey, and Robin S. Wintringham have become the latest candidates to register for the two regular seats that will be up for grabs on Burlington’s city council. Their entries into this race have brought the total number of hopeful council members to seven – more than enough to force the city to hold a first round primary on October 10.

These three registrations for Burlington’s city council come on the heels of four earlier filings from second-time candidates Charlie Beasley and Dejuana Bigelow, former Burlington councilman Celo Faucette, and current councilman Bob Ward – one of two incumbents whose seats are at stake in this fall’s election.

The other incumbent whose seat’s on the ballot – city councilmember Kathy Hykes – had told The Alamance News that she would not seek re-election shortly before candidate registration opened on July 7. Hykes’ forthcoming retirement has effectively cleared the deck for other would-be council members to throw their figurative hats into ring. It may also be worth noting that the recent flurry of filings has brought out more female candidates than any other Burlington council race in recent memory.

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 – a quota that was exceeded on Thursday when Whittaker became the fifth would-be council member to sign up with the local elections office.

At this point, the race for Burlington’s mayor has yet to cross the threshold for this post to appear in the primary. Even so, on Wednesday, Beth Kennett registered to challenge the city’s incumbent mayor Jim Butler, who signed up to defend his position on the first day of the filing period.

The city of Burlington is the only municipality in Alamance County whose charter contains a provision for a candidate-culling primary before the general election on November 7. Yet, a number of the county’s other cities and towns have also witnessed a fair amount of interest in the positions that will be in the balance this fall.

Much ado in Gibsonville
One municipality that has recently seen an uptick in candidate registrations is the town of Gibsonville, which has four posts up for grabs on its board of aldermen along with the position of mayor.

Over the past week, Tangela Mitchell and Darla Lawson have filed for a trio of seats on the board of aldermen that are available for their full four year terms. Earlier in the filing period, incumbent alderman Mark Shepherd also filed for one of these four-year positions – while the elections office has not yet received the requisite paperwork from fellow incumbents Clarence A. Owen, Sr. and Irene Fanelli, who was appointed to succeed former alderman Yvonne Maizland-Sturdevant after she gave up her spot on the board and moved to Virginia.

In addition to the candidates for the three four-terms on Gibsonville’s board of alderman, the local elections office has received a recent filing for a special two-year term that’s available for the former seat of the late alderman Paul Thompson. After Thompson’s death in August of 2022, the surviving aldermen tapped Paul Dean, the second runner up from an earlier race for the board, to serve as a temporary successor until this fall’s election. On Monday, Dean formally registered his candidacy for this position, which will appear as a separate ballot item from the board’s three four-year terms.

As of this Wednesday, the local elections office hadn’t posted any new contenders for the office of Gibsonville’s mayor, which the long-time incumbent Lenny Williams signed up to defend on the first day of the registration period.

A mayoral challenger in Haw River
Meanwhile, in the town of Haw River, a challenger has 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.

Another new entrant in Haw River is incumbent council member Patty Wilson, who has filed 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. As of Wednesday afternoon, Wilson’s fellow incumbent Steve Lineberry had not yet filed for re-election.


Elsewhere in the county
In the Village of Alamance, the past week has drawn registrations from incumbent aldermen Barry Crouse and Tim W. Isley, while mayor Don Tichy made an early debut on the first day of filing. The elections office has yet to post anything on Daniel Tichy, the third incumbent alderman who’s up for reelection this year.

On Wednesday, councilman Billy Carter of Ossipee joined fellow incumbents Edward Gallagher and Ernest “Smokey” Bare in the race for their municipality’s town council.

Meanwhile, the past week hasn’t seen much change in the candidate lineups in the county’s other cities and towns.

In the city of Graham, mayor Jennifer Talley registered to run for re-election early in the filing period, as did incumbent council members Ricky Hall and Bonnie Whitaker. Meanwhile, Ryan Kluk has emerged as a challenger in the race for the council’s two available seats.

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.

In Elon, incumbent 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.

In Swepsonville, incumbent councilmen Drew Sharpe and Travis Sapp have registered their candidacies with the local elections office.

Candidate registration for all of the county’s cities and town’s will continue until 12:00 noon on July 21.

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