Local elections boards are in the midst of the filing season for most municipalities in the Twin Counties, and some election races are heating up faster than others.
Spring Hope Town Commissioner Prudence Wilkins was the first candidate to formally announce her candidacy. Wilkins announced at a news conference before the filing season began that she plans to run for mayor during the November election.
That seat is currently occupied by longtime Spring Hope Mayor Buddy Gwantley III. Wilkins has served two years on the Spring Hope Board of Commissioners.
“Being the person that I am, many of you know that I am very much in the community, very much love the Town of Spring Hope and love what Spring Hope has to offer,” Wilkins said on June 29 at her news conference. “I am not going to stand here and tell you guys that I am going to do this or I am going to do that because it takes an entire community to do the things that we need to do here within Spring Hope. We have a ways to go, but I do feel like, as a team, we can actually take Spring Hope where we envision Spring Hope being,”
Wilkins formally filed to run for mayor on July 2, the first day filing began. The filing period ends at noon on Friday.
As of this Friday, Gwaltney had not yet filed for re-election as mayor. He could not be reached for comment as to whether he plans to run in the coming election.
But the Spring Hope race is the most active so far in the filings in the Twin Counties. Not only does the current mayor face an opponent this year if he chooses to run, but five Spring Hope residents also have already filed to run in an election where only four seats are open.
Spring Hope commissioners Brent Cone and Drew Griffin have both filed to run again this year. Commissioner Ricky Tucker has not yet filed to run. Wilkins’ commissioner seat was not set to expire until 2023. Since she is running for mayor, that seat is open this year as well.
Three newcomers to the race have filed to run in the Spring Hope commissioner’s race: Eric Gainey, Jason Himmelright and Tony Jeffreys.
The Town of Castalia has a mayoral seat and three commissioner seats up for grabs this year, and only one resident has come forward to run.
Castalia Mayor James Alston was appointed to his post as mayor in January 2020 after serving multiple terms as a town commissioner. He has not yet filed to run for election to that post.
The term of Castalia commissioner Brian Hinkle is set to expire this year, and he has not yet put in a bid for re-election. In addition, two commissioner seats are currently vacant on the Castalia Board of Commissioners, according to information provided by the Nash County Board of Elections.
Sadie Harvey Atkinson is the only Castalia resident to file to run for the position of commissioner so far.
In the Town of Dortches, three seats are open this year. All current officials have filed for re-election but there are no opponents so far. If no one files to run, Dortches mayor Jackie B. Vick and town commissioners Bruce Smith and Boyce Varnell will retain their seats on the board.
Middlesex Mayor LuHarvey Lewis Jr. and Middlesex Town Commissioner Harold Meacombs have both filed to run for re-election this year. But so far, Town Commissioner Ann Mitchell Lewis has not. No one else has filed to fill any of these three expiring terms.
Two town commissioner seats are expiring in Momeyer and only one commissioner had filed for re-election as of Friday. Richard Matthews has filed to run for commissioner after filling an unexpired term in 2019. Martha Lucas has not yet filed to run to retain her seat, and no other candidates are on the horizon so far.
Red Oak Mayor Levell Langley has filed to run for re-election to his post. Red Oak Town Commissioner Sandra Russ, who was appointed to fill Barbara Tyre’s seat in November 2020, also has filed to run for election to retain that seat. Red Oak Town commissioner Craig New has not yet filed to run for re-election. However, newcomer to the race Todd Mallory threw his hat in the ring Thursday and hopes to join the Red Oak Board of Commissioners this year.
Three Nash County towns with expiring terms have had no one yet file for election this year.
No one has filed to run in the Nashville election so far though two seats on the Nashville Town Council are up for grabs. The terms of Council members Kate Burns and Larry Taylor expire this year, according to information provided by the Nash County Board of Elections.
Two seats also are opening up on the Town of Bailey Board of Commissioners. The terms of Shelley B. Carroll and Dwan Hope Finch are expiring this year with no filers so far.
The Town of Sharpsburg, which falls into Nash, Edgecombe and Wilson counties, also has three seats up for election this year. No one has filed to challenge commissioners G. Randall Collie and Beverly Davis, and the incumbents have not filed to run. Mayor Robert Williams Jr. also has not filed for re-election though his seat is set to open.
In Edgecombe County, little interest has been shown in filing so far.
“We have only had two candidates file to run this week,” Edgecombe County Elections Director Jerry Spruell said Friday.
Emily Stallings Turner has filed to run for mayor of Macclesfield. Current Mayor Dennis Sanderson was appointed to that post in June 2020 and the term is set to expire this year. Sanderson has not yet filed to run to retain the office of mayor.
The terms of commissioners Ernest Polling and Patricia Keel also are set to expire this year with no one filing for those seats so far.
In the town of Whitakers, Town Commissioner Sammy Lee Hopkins Sr. is the only candidate to file for re-election as of Friday. The terms of commissioners Doris Lindsey and Janice Bellamy also are set to expire this year.
The entire town board of Conetoe is up for grabs this year with all terms of the mayor and four commissioners set to expire. Officials in the town are elected to two-year terms, which expire concurrently. The mayor’s seat in that town is currently vacant, according to information provided by the Edgecombe County Board of Elections.
Two commissioner terms in Pinetops will expire this year. Neither Commissioner Barbara Taylor nor Donald Webb have yet filed to run for re-election and no newcomers have come forward.
The Edgecombe County towns of Speed and Leggett have no posts up for election this year.
Elections for the City of Rocky Mount, the Town of Tarboro and the Town of Princeville have been delayed by state law until new census information is provided and new ward lines can be drawn based on that data.
Interested candidates for these positions must file to run for office by noon Friday at the elections board in their county of residence.