Mayoral, City Council elections could provide interesting possibilities

Published 1:54 pm Monday, July 24, 2017

Two mayoral contests — one in Belhaven and one in Chocowinity — present several possible scenarios depending on who wins those races.

In Belhaven, Ricky Credle, whose four-year term on the Board of Alderman expires in 2019, would have to resign from the board if he wins the mayoral contest. If that happened the Board of Alderman would appoint someone to replace Credle on the board for the remainder of his unexpired term. If he loses, he would complete his current term on the board.

Greg Satterthwaite, whose four-year term on the board expires this year, would transition into the mayor’s office if he wins the mayoral race.

Arthur Bonner, Elola T. Moore and Edith C. Guy are also seeking the mayor’s post. Current Mayor Adam O’Neal is not seeking re-election.

The top vote-getter in the mayoral contest will take O’Neal’s seat after taking the oath of office, usually in early December. In case of a tie, the winner will be decided by “drawing lots,” according to Kellie Harris Hopkins, Beaufort County’s elections director.

In Chocowinity, Mayor Jimmy Mobley’s re-election effort is being challenged by Curt Jenkins, a Board of Commissioners member in the middle of his first four-year term on the board. If Jenkins wins the mayoral race, he would have to resign from his seat on the board to become mayor. If Jenkins loses, he would complete his current term on the board. In case of a tie in the mayoral contest, the winner would be decided by a drawing.

With 11 candidates seeking seats on the five-member Washington City Council, unofficial vote totals after the polls close Election Day could result in close races, Hopkins noted. The top five vote-getters would be determined and certified after the Beaufort County Board of Elections canvasses the ballots and certifies the election results. A recount involving some candidates is possible if specific criteria are met.

The Beaufort County Board of Elections will conduct elections for the county’s seven municipalities — Aurora, Bath, Belhaven, Chocowinity, Pantego, Washington and Washington Park. Election Day is Nov. 7. The deadline to challenge a candidate seeking office is Aug. 4.

The early voting period for the Nov. 7 elections runs from Oct. 19 through Nov. 4. Only voters who live in the municipalities will vote in the Nov. 7 election. The specific dates, times and sites for early voting in Beaufort County will be announced later this year.

Currently, municipal elections are nonpartisan. That nonpartisan status affects write-in candidates.

In non-municipal partisan contests, a voter who wishes to run for office must follow a petition procedure to become qualified. There is no petition process to qualify as a write-in candidate for a nonpartisan election or a municipal election, whether partisan or nonpartisan. The option to write in a candidate is automatically included on the ballot for municipal contests.


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

email author More by Mike