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Municipal election races set in Western North Carolina

Municipal election races set in Western North Carolina

The slates are now set for November’s municipal elections in Western North Carolina, and although a number of surprise candidates ended up filing — making some races very competitive — participation is lacking in several others, indicating a general lack of interest. 


In Waynesville, Republican Joey Reece will present a formidable challenge to incumbent Democratic Mayor Gary Caldwell.

Another Republican, Stephen Speed, and an unaffiliated candidate, John Barrett, have also filed for mayor.

Waynesville’s entire Town Council is up for re-election, and all incumbents have filed. Chuck Dickson, Jon Feichter, Julia Freeman and Anthony Sutton seek to retain their seats, but this year’s contest will be unusual in that the top two finishers will be awarded four-year terms, with the next two finishers earning two-year terms.

The unusual format will set up a new staggered-term regimen, so that Waynesville’s entire board is never up for election all at the same time again. In 2025, the two-year terms will be up and will at that time revert to four-year terms.

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But the incumbents in Waynesville aren’t exactly getting a free pass.

Five other candidates all hope to take one of the four available seats on council. Ronnie Call, William “Tre” Franklin, Kenneth Hollifield and Stephanie Sutton have all filed, as has Peggy Hannah, who was appointed to the town’s planning board almost a year ago.

In Canton, Adam Hatton has filed to run against incumbent Alderman Dr. Ralph Hamlett and Mayor Pro Tem Gail Mull. The top two finishers will earn seats.

Clyde’s Mayor Jim Trantham is running unopposed and will serve another term. Incumbent Alderman John Hemingway told The Smoky Mountain News he probably wouldn’t seek another term, and didn’t end up filing. Dann Jesse, another incumbent alderman, filed on July 18, joining Kathy Cogburn Johnson, Cory Nuckolls, Melinda Parker and Amy Russell in competition for two seats.

Maggie Valley Mayor Mike Eveland will face two challengers, former planning board chairman Jeff Lee and former Mayor Pro Tem Janet Banks. Banks lost to Eveland in 2019.

Aldermen Phillip and Tammy Wight are up for re-election, but Tammy followed through with plans to sit this one out. Phillip did file, along with Eve Barrett, Tim Wise and former zoning board of adjustments member Allen Alsbrooks. Alsbrooks finished third to the Wights in 2019.

In Jackson County, incumbent Council Member Marcia Almond filed for mayor of Forest Hills after incumbent Mayor Jim Wallace said he wouldn’t. Two council seats, Almond’s and Nilofer Couture’s, are up. Couture has filed, but no one ultimately stepped up to run for Almond’s seat.

Two seats on the Town of Webster Board of Commissioners are up, currently held by Brandon Core and Allen Davis. Both filed and will run unopposed.

In Sylva, incumbent Mayor David Nestler told SMN earlier this month he hadn’t decided on his plans. Nestler didn’t end up filing, but Guy Phillips and current council member Natalie Newman did.

Commission seats held by Ben Guiney, Greg McPherson and Brad Waldrop are also up. All three filed, along with Blitz Estridge, Luther Jones and Mark Jones.

Three seats on the Town of Highlands Board of Commissioners are up this cycle, but one incumbent, Marc Hehn, said he wouldn’t run. Fellow incumbents John Dotson and Brian Stiehler have filed for reelection and will be challenged by Tucker Chambers, Kay Craig, Rachel Wilson and Jeff Weller.

In Franklin, Mayor Jack Horton is assured of another term because he drew no challengers.

Incumbent Council members Joe Collins, Adam Kimsey and Mike Lewis are all up for reelection this year, but only Collins and Lewis have filed. Robert Tompa also filed for Council, meaning all three will advance without opposition.

Things will likewise be quiet in Swain County. Bryson City Mayor Tom Sutton is seeking reelection unopposed. Aldermen Tim Hines, Chad Smith and Heidi Ramsey-Woodard all filed without opposition.

Voters must register by Oct. 13 to participate in the November General Election. Check your registration status by visiting . View the full list of candidates who have filed for municipal offices across the state by visiting .

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