Doing your civic duty, municipal style

Nov. 03, 2013 @ 03:00 PM

Nothing likes years of controversy in one city and an open seat on council in another city to generate contested local elections that voters will settle Tuesday.
The contests for mayor and City Council in Trinity and Thomasville headline the area’s municipal elections. Voters go to the polls from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in cities and towns across Guilford, Randolph and Davidson counties. Two exceptions are High Point and Archdale, which hold their municipal elections in even-numbered years.
In Trinity, the race for mayor and four seats on City Council takes place against the backdrop of years of controversy over a variety of issues that have led to heated exchanges at council meetings. The disputes have included whether to develop land for a park, extend water and sewer lines for commercial development and zone parcels for land use in the city.
The controversies led to the forced departure of former City Manager Ann Bailie, whose severance package itself became a point of contention.
The importance of Trinity’s election is reflected in many of the key votes on council, which have ended up 5-3 or 5-4, as the mayor only votes when the eight council members split evenly. The headline race is for Trinity’s top elected office, as Mayor Carlton Boyles faces former mayor Fran Andrews, whom Boyles defeated four years ago. Outgoing Councilwoman Karen Bridges is mounting a late write-in campaign for mayor as well.
In Thomasville, 12 candidates — including six incumbents — are vying for seven at-large seats on City Council. Councilwoman Jackie Jackson isn’t seeking another term, which leaves her seat open for a challenger.
Longtime Thomasville Mayor Joe Bennett faces a challenge from Earl Harrison and J.W. Mathis.
One other contested local race takes place in the Davidson County town of Midway, where Councilwoman Sue Stephens isn’t seeking another term. Two incumbents and three challengers face off for three seats on Midway Town Council, with one of the challengers assured of capturing a seat.
Municipal elections in the three counties are nonpartisan, meaning the party affiliation of the candidates doesn’t appear on the ballot.

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Voters in two area towns won’t find contested races on the ballot Tuesday. In Jamestown in Guilford County, the mayor and three incumbent council members are unopposed, and a lone challenger is running for the fourth, open seat on Town Council. In Wallburg in Davidson County, the mayor and two Town Council incumbents are unopposed.
Sources: Davidson and Guilford County boards of elections