Election sign-ups extended in Jackson

The sign-up period to run for municipal office is over in North Carolina, but the Jackson County Board of Elections voted to extend the deadline to run for Webster Town Council by one week in hopes that at least one more person will decide to run. The new deadline is noon Friday, July 28.

Terms are up for three of five seats on the Webster Town Council, but so far only two people have filed for election — incumbents Leigh Ann Young and Allen Grant. Incumbent Danell Moses has not filed for re-election. The mayor’s seat will also be on the ballot, and incumbent Tracey Rhodes has signed up to run.

It’s not unheard of for the initial sign-up period to yield fewer candidates than offices, especially in small municipalities like Webster. Webster has only 262 registered voters.

“They’re just really small areas, so it does happen quite often,” said Elections Director Lisa Lovedahl.

In the event that nobody else signs up for Webster’s Town Council by the new deadline, the seat will be filled using write-in votes, Lovedahl said.

While Webster is short on candidates, some of Jackson County’s municipal races will be contested. Timothy Hall signed up to run for Dillsboro’s Board of Alderman July 19, making him the seventh candidate in a race with five seats available.  The other candidates are incumbents Beaufort Riddle, David Gates, Tim Parris and David Jones, as well as challengers James Cochran and John Chinners. Incumbent Jim Cabe has not filed for re-election, but Mayor Mike Fitzgerald will run again.

While Sylva Commissioners Mary Gelbaugh and Barbara Hamilton don’t currently have any competition for re-election to their seats, Mayor Lynda Sossamon will run against Danny Allen when seeking another term. Allen served on Sylva’s board for 12 years before losing his 2015 bid for mayor to Sossamon — only three votes separated the two candidates. Hamilton had also run, coming in 12 votes behind Sossamon.

The Forest Hills Town Council will also see a contested race. Incumbents Clark Corwin and Carl Hooper, as well as challenger Jerry Rice, will vie for two open seats, with Mayor Kolleen Begley running for re-election and Sharon Stovall running for the council seat she was appointed to after Ron Mau resigned following his election to the Jackson County Board of Commissioners.

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