Ballot Battle

Published 10:42 am Monday, November 6, 2017

Registered voters living inside municipalities in the Roanoke-Chowan area will have the opportunity to let their voices be heard on Tuesday, Nov. 7 where they will elect the leaders of their respective towns.

Polling places within those municipalities will open at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Voting ends at 7:30 p.m.

The following are the candidates who are seeking positions as either town mayor or as a member of their town’s board of commissioners or council.


Bertie County


In Powellsville, deposed former mayor Thomas Asbell will not seek another term; instead, current mayor pro-tem James Peele is seeking that seat and faces no opposition on the ballot.

Peele’s decision to switch seats leaves a chance for a newcomer to be elected to the three-person town board. Current incumbent Commissioners James T. (J.T.) Watford and Carlyle Hoggard have filed to run again, and will be joined on the ballot by newcomers Hattie Askew and Gerald Waters vying for the third commissioner’s seat.

In Roxobel, incumbent mayor Alvin Lee Simmons is challenged by Gary Johnson, who held the mayor’s seat in 2013 before Simmons defeated him for the top spot two years later. Meanwhile, five candidates have filed for Roxobel Commissioner: David Lee Baisey Sr., Carolyn Fay Bracy, Manual Lee Joyner Sr., Alton H. Parker, and Robert Louis Phelps.

Three town commissioner seats are up for grabs in Colerain, yet only two candidates have filed: incumbents Bill Harrell and Duncan Hughes.

Two Bertie municipalities have opted not to make change, at least according to those who filed for office.

In Askewville, Gloria Bryant will seek another two-year term as the town’s mayor, while the only candidates to file for the three seats in the commissioner’s race are the incumbents: Mike Baker, Kay Bradley, and Carla Pesce.

The same holds for the town of Kelford, where Bailey Parker is the only name once more on the ballot for mayor. Five seats are available for the town board of commissioners and they are sought by the current office-holders: James Bland, Jr., Harvey Wayne Bland, John T. Eaton, Tim Emory, and Jim Harrell.

There is no mayor’s race in Aulander, but four candidates have filed for a seat on the town board with only three seats available. In addition to incumbents Ron Poppell, Phillip Thomas, and Jason Tinkham, there will be a newcomer in the race in Gerald (Jerry) Welch.

In Lewiston-Woodville, Mayor Dayle Vaughan – who ran unopposed in 2013 – will face a challenge from current at-large town councilman James Earl Pugh. Pugh’s commissioner’s seat is not up for election in 2017, but the other two seats are. However, neither incumbent: Lewiston District councilperson Dianne Bazemore, nor Woodville District councilperson, June Jernigan, will face a challenger on the ballot.

Finally, Windsor mayor Jim Hoggard will face no ballot opposition in his bid for a third term; but a third challenger has emerged in the race for the two available town council seats. Current Bertie High School teacher, former coach, and current athletic director Randy Whitaker is a first-time office-seeker against incumbents David Overton and Jon Powell.

Meanwhile, Randy Walston and Jason (Heavy) White have filed for the unexpired term of the late mayor-pro tem and longtime commissioner Bobby Brown, who passed away last March while still in office. Amy Williford was appointed to the seat, but opted not to run to fill the unexpired term. The November winner between Walston and White will serve out the final two years of Brown’s original four-year term.


Hertford County


Political races have developed in both Ahoskie and Murfreesboro.

In Ahoskie, four individuals are seeking to become the At-Large member on the Town Council to replace the retiring Linda Blackburn. Listed on Tuesday’s ballot for the town’s voters to choose among are Jamie Burns, Stewart Fields, Donald Kirkland, and David D. Robertson.

Meanwhile, incumbent Ahoskie Ward B Councilman C. David Stackhouse will be challenged by Katty Pena White.

Another incumbent on the Ahoskie Council, Charles W. Freeman who represents Ward A, is unchallenged during his quest to serve a second, four-year term.

Over in Murfreesboro, seven candidates – including four incumbents – are vying for the five seats on Town Council. The incumbents seeking reelection are Craig Dennis, Bill Theodorakis and Sarah Whitley Wallace. The fourth incumbent is Rick Heckler. He was appointed to fill an unexpired term on the Council and is now seeing his name on a municipal voting ballot for the first time.

A trio of challengers are also seeking seats on the Murfreesboro Council – Kim Castle, Mitchell R. Radford and Berna L. Stephens.

Meanwhile, veteran Murfreesboro Mayor John Hinton opted not to seek another term. That opening prompted Hal Thomas, a current member of the Town Council, to seek that seat. Thomas is unopposed in that effort.

In the county seat of Winton, three Town Council incumbents – Blake Blythe, James (Bud) Manley and Emily (Emy) Winstead – are on the ballot for reelection. Political newcomer Brian Futrell also filed for a seat on the Winton Council.

Winton’s current Mayor, Tiffany Michelle Lewis, looks to change seats as she is seeking a position on the Town Council. No candidates filed for Winton Mayor.

Barring any major effort by write-in candidates in November, it appears that the Como Town Council will remain unchanged. The town’s incumbent Mayor, Irvin L. Stephens Sr., is seeking another term, as are each of the four current Council members – Lorie Higbee, Susan W. Kennington, Stephen F. Pearce, and Ann E. Spruill.

Incumbents also dominated the ballot in Harrellsville as Mayor Mary L. Thompson along with current Council members Deborah Annette Baker, Lisa Ann Hunnicutt, and Ronnie Revell are seeking reelection. Two other seats on the Harrellsville Town Council remain open as no one else filed.

Vacancies will also exist on the Cofield Town Council as only one (Anthony V. Archer) of the five incumbents is seeking another term on that governing board. Another incumbent Council member, June S. Wynn, filed for Cofield Mayor. She is unchallenged in that bid.


Northampton Co.


A total of 56 individuals, many of whom are incumbents, submitted their names to run for a county-wide total of 41 open seats.

Of the county’s nine towns, only Jackson and Woodland will not have an election for mayor this year. Mayors in four towns are running uncontested. The following are individuals that filed for mayor in their respective towns:

Conway: Willie T. Barrett (incumbent)

Garysburg: Roy Lee Bell (incumbent)

Gaston: Alice Patrick Delbridge, Jason Moore (incumbent)

Lasker: Dick Collier (incumbent)

Rich Square: Peggy Cary, Pamela Edwards Majette, Doris (Peggy) Risper (incumbent)

Seaboard: Mark Dawson, Geraldine Jerman Langford (incumbent), Bobby Rice

Severn: George McGee (incumbent)

A total of 34 town commissioner seats are on Tuesday’s ballot. All nine towns in Northampton have at least two or more seats open.

Conway has five seats available to be filled. The five candidates on the ballot are Walter Lee Duke, Jr., Lokie W. Majette, Willie G. Simmons, Gail C. Wade, and Stewart W. Woodard. All are incumbents.

Garysburg also has five seats open and five candidates, all incumbents, are on the ballot: Lola S. Ausby, Woodrow W. Harding, Jr., Semiko N. Jacobs, James M. Mayo, and Iris F. Williams. All are incumbents.

Two commissioner seats are open in Gaston. Donald W. Conner, Tony Hux, Sr. (incumbent), Della Johnson, Franklin L. Manning (incumbent), and Betty J. Powell are seeking favor from the voters in that town.

Three seats are open in Jackson and three candidates, all incumbents, are looking for another term: Karin Clements, Mary Ann L. Crawley, and Jim Gossip.

Lasker also has three commissioner seats open, but only two candidates filed and are listed on the ballot: Charles Manness Daughtry, Jr. and Stevie Flythe. Both are incumbents.

Rich Square’s field is a busy one as nine names are on the ballot for Town Commissioners. Hoping to be among the top five voter-getters Linwood C. Bryant (incumbent), Charles Eason (incumbent), Marjorie Edwards, Patricia W. Freeman, Jerome Garris, Larry Godwin (incumbent), Annie H. Helton, Raymond Joyner (incumbent), and Reginald White (incumbent).

In Seaboard, seven people are on the ballot for three open commissioner seats: Laquitia Barnes (incumbent), Linwood Fenton Clark, Virginia Crocker-Nelson, Freddi Diane Gallimore (incumbent), George M. Jerman, Sr., Alfred Kwasikpui, and Christine Decarlo Moody.

The town of Severn has five seats open and each of the town’s five incumbent board members are on the ballot: Tony Herman, Joseph Troy Holloman, Eloise Martin, Paige Pinnix, and Royal Parker Watson, Jr. All are incumbents.

Woodland has three candidates running for three open commissioner seats: Brian K. Christison, David L. Cooper (incumbent), and Catina Jackson.

Citizens residing in the town of Gaston will also be able to vote in the election for Roanoke Rapids Sanitary District Board of Directors since the town is included in that district.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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