Who’s running and who’s not?Written by Becky Johnson
- Harnessing the progressive tide
- Late to the party? Democrats welcome progressives in symbiotic alliance
- A grassroots progressive group takes off in Haywood
- The petri dish of American politics: Homegrown factions wreak havoc on mainstream parties
- Showdown at GOP gulch: Tracing the origin of turmoil in the Haywood Republican Party
Canton Mayor Pat Smathers could face opposition this fall from his leading opponent on the town board, Alderman Eric Dills. Dills said this week he is considering a run for mayor against Smathers, although he has not made up his mind for sure.
Meanwhile, two board members ousted two years ago may put their hats back in the ring and try to retake their old seats. The race gets even more interesting with the prospect of a few new challengers.
The upshot: the battle for who will lead the town going forward is still clearly in flux.
Of the four current Canton town board members, none would say definitively whether they are running for re-election.
Alderman Ernest Stines said he hasn’t made up his mind yet.
“I’m not going to say one way or the other at this point,” Stines said. “I am going to think about it, pray about it and make up my mind.”
Alderman Troy Mann also said he was still contemplating.
Alderman Mike Ray, the only alderman who has tenure on the board, also said he wasn’t ready to say.
Alderman Eric Dills is definitely going to run, but may run against Smathers for mayor instead. If he doesn’t run against Smathers, he will run to keep his seat as an alderman.
Meanwhile, former town board member Charlie Crawford said he will most likely run to get back on the board.
“I am definitely thinking about it,” Crawford said. “I haven’t made a final decision yet. The chances are about 90 percent I will.”
Former town board member Ted Woodruff was not as definite as Crawford, but said he may consider another run as well.
“I hadn’t really decided yet,” Woodruff said.
Woodruff was on the board for 36 years before losing two years ago.
“Some people said I’d been on there too long,” Woodruff said.
As for challengers, Patrick Willis, 29, is the only one to confirm a run so far.
Another potential candidate is Ed Underwood, 60, a member of the town ABC board who is a correctional officer at Craggy prison.
“A lot of it depends on who else will be running,” Underwood said. “It is a tough decision.”
Underwood considered running two years ago, but felt his work schedule would potentially be prohibitive. If he runs and wins, he would retire, which is part of his decision.