42 candidates to seek municipal office

Published 7:00 pm Friday, July 19, 2019

Voters in Washington and Belhaven will have plenty of options to choose from this November during municipal elections.

The filing period for city and town council candidates closed at noon Friday for six of Beaufort County’s seven municipalities. In Aurora, where only one candidate filed to run for two open seats, filing has been extended by one week and closes at noon July 26. All told, 42 people filed to run for spots on their respective municipal boards.

“It’s about average,” Board of Elections Director Kellie Hopkins said of this year’s filings. “It seems like it’s at one end or the other. Municipalities either have just enough to fill (open positions) or they have a great deal of candidates that are interested in running.”

Washington had the most candidates file by far, with two people running for mayor and 11 competing for five open council seats. Incumbent mayor Mac Hodges will face off against challenger Marshall Thurmon in November. Current council members Roland Wyman, Virginia Finnerty, Richard Brooks, William Pitt and Doug Mercer each filed to seek reelection, with six others seeking their seats. Challengers for City Council include Donald Sadler, Bobby Roberson, Mike Renn, Laurence (Larry) Doby, Darwin E. Woolard and Elizabeth (Betsy) Kane.

Belhaven also will have a competitive race, with Greg Satterthwaite challenging incumbent mayor Ricky Credle for that position. In the town’s west district, sitting alderman Brenda Cherry will face off against Bradford Linton for one open seat. The competition for two east district seats will have no incumbents, but five newcomers: James Lawler, Jimmie H. Southerland, Myers Williams, Nathan Van Nortwick and Veronica Ward.

While not to the same degree as Washington and Belhaven, races in Washington Park and Pantego will be competitive as well.

In Pantego, incumbent commissioners Chad Keech, Reid Gelderman, Robert Lilley, Mart Benson and Chuck Williams will be joined on the ballot by challenger Matthew Van Nortwick. Pantego Mayor Stuart Ricks is running unopposed.

Washington Park too will have one challenger seeking a spot on the town board of commissioners — Hatteras Brooks will attempt to take one of the seats currently held by incumbents Patrick Nash, Lee Bowen, Belinda Cowell, Jeffery Peacock and Wade Dale, all of whom have filed for reelection. Mayor Tom Richter will be on the ballot with no competition.

For Bath and Chocowinity voters, incumbents are the only option this election, barring any kind of write-in campaigns. Bath Mayor Jimmy Latham and commissioners Keith Tankard and John Taylor all filed for reelection to their current positions. Chocowinity commissioners Nathaniel Williams and Casey Langley have filed for the town’s two expiring commissioner terms.

Finally, filing in Aurora is set to continue for one more week. Only one candidate, W.C. Boyd, filed to run for two commissioners seats that are up for grabs. Aurora residents interested in filing can fill out the necessary paperwork at the Beaufort County Board of Elections, 1308 Highland Drive, Suite 104, Washington.

One-stop early voting in the 2019 municipal elections begins on Oct. 23 and runs through Nov. 1. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 5. For more information, call the BOE at 252-946-2321.