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Haywood candidates slow to sign up

With the deadline to file for municipal office fast approaching — noon on July 19 —Haywood County voters may end up with few competitive races, and even fewer candidates. 

In Canton, Alderman Dr. Ralph Hamlett and Mayor Pro Temp/Alderwoman Gail Mull have both filed for reelection as they said they would, but no one has yet filed to challenge either of them. There’s also a two-year board seat unexpectedly on the ballot after the resignation of James Markey a few weeks ago, but no one’s filed for that race, either. 

Clyde’s Mayor Jim Trantham took office in December 2016 after the passing of longtime Mayor Jerry Walker and has filed to run for a full term. Thus far, he has no opposition. The aldermanic seats of Diane Fore, Dann Jesse and John Hemingway are all up for election this year as well; Fore and Hemmingway have filed. No one else has. 

Last winter, Maggie Valley Mayor Saralyn Price announced she wouldn’t run for re-election; Aldermen Dr. Janet Banks and Mike Eveland have both filed to run for her seat, but they’re the only ones so far. Banks’ aldermanic seat is now open, as is Alderman Phillip Wight’s, but no one has yet filed to run for either.

All Waynesville aldermanic seats are up for election this fall, as is the mayor’s gavel; as expected, Aldermen Jon Feichter and Julia Boyd Freeman filed for re-election. Alderman Dr. LeRoy Roberson said weeks ago he was “leaning against” running again, and as of press time on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 16, hadn’t filed. 

Alderman Gary Caldwell, however, filed to run for mayor, so his seat, and possibly Roberson’s, won’t be defended by incumbents. Mayor Gavin Brown has also filed for re-election. 

Waynesville Planning Board Vice Chairman and Haywood Healthcare Foundation board member Anthony Sutton filed for an aldermanic seat, and was this week joined by Joel Reece, a retired special agent in charge with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, as well as local attorney Chuck Dickson. 

As of Wednesday, July 10, Election Day is 112 days away, and will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 5. Municipal candidate filing ends at noon on Friday, July 19. For more information, visit www.haywoodcountync.gov/173/elections.

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