UPDATED: Deadline to file for municipal election this Friday

Published 2:32 pm Monday, July 17, 2023

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been updated to include candidates who filed before press deadline on Tuesday, July 18.  

If you’re deciding whether to run for a seat on your city or town’s council, this week is your last chance to file. 

Friday, July 21 at noon is the hard deadline for residents interested in filing for candidacy in this year’s municipal election on Tuesday, Nov. 7. Candidates should be at the Beaufort County Board of Elections’ office no later than noon, Kellie Hopkins, director of the local Board of Elections office said. 

Hopkins said there’s a rush of candidates eager to file on the first day and on the last day. 

“It seems to be that there is a rush the first day and a rush the last day and then we have people that trickle in during the week,” Hopkins said. “I’m sure there will be a handful that pop-up at the end.”  

Hopkins continued to share that depending on what’s happening in a municipality can sometimes determine if there will be many candidates or if the minimum amount will be achieved. 

“In certain municipalities there is more excitement about the election – you’re going to have more candidates come in and in other municipalities a lot of times we just get the candidates, enough to fill the seats,” Hopkins said. “It depends from year to year. What’s going on in municipalities changes. One year one municipality may be very hot and the next time it’s not.” 

As of Tuesday, July 18, 22 candidates have filed in their respective towns or city. 

The City of Washington has the most participation with two candidates running for mayor – incumbent, Mayor Donald Sadler and current city council member Bobby Roberson. On council, there are five open seats and vying for those seats are six candidates including current Mayor Pro-Tem Richard Brooks and Councilman William Pitt. The other candidates are; Antwan Horton, Gary A. Ceres, Mary Beedle, AJ Congleton, and Andrew (Tex) Melton. 

In Washington Park, Mayor Tom Richter is running for re-election. There are five commissioner seats that are open, but only two candidates have filed – Wade Dale and Belinda Cowell. 

In Chocowinity, Nathaniel Williams, Jeff Haddock and Michael (Mike) Jones have filed for town commissioner where there are two open seats. 

Belhaven has three alderman seats open, two for the eastern side and one for the western. Stacey Conner and incumbent Veronica P. Ward have filed for alderman east seats. The Beaufort County Board of Elections notes that Shanika E. Ebron was appointed to an Alderman West seat. 

The Town of Bath currently has candidates for each of the available seats. All incumbents are running for re-election, Mayor Jimmy Latham and Commissioners John A. Taylor and William Keith Tankard. 

The Town of Aurora has two commissioner seats available, but only one person has filed – Coley W. Jordan who is running for re-election. 

In the Town of Pantego, Oran Benson filed for commissioner and current mayor, Stuart E. Ricks, is running for re-election. There are five total commissioner seats open. 

If a situation should arise where there are not enough candidates for a race, the Beaufort County Board of Elections will extend the deadline for that particular race only which means the deadline to file for that race would be Friday, July 28. If after the extended deadline and still there are not enough candidates, the race will be decided by write-in candidates. This is because municipal elections in Beaufort County are nonpartisan. In nonpartisan contests, write-in candidates are eligible, Hopkins said.