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WAKE FOREST — Election filings for municipal races started Friday and already newcomers and incumbents alike have trickled into election offices in Wake and Franklin counties to throw their hats in the ring.
Filing began July 5 and runs through July 19.
Opening day started the Wake Forest mayoral race with long-time Mayor Vivian Jones being challenged by former U.S. Congressional candidate Bill Randall.
“I really believe that I can bring some things to the table that would work to help Wake Forest better position itself for the future,” Randall said when reached by phone Monday. “Wake Forest has a lot of potential. We need to be forward thinking.”
He’s already adopted a platform: Keeping Wake Forest clean and safe, revitalizing the economy and working toward being more responsive to the residents and businesses.
Randall, a Heritage resident since 2008, declined to criticize the mayor or any town policies, saying that people are tired of negative campaigning.
A military veteran, he is a business management consultant. He ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House of Representatives 13th district in 2010 and 2012.
Jones filed to seek her fourth term as mayor.
“I think I still have some ideas to offer … that we can use in Wake Forest,” Jones said.
“I’d like the opportunity to see through the expanded arts opportunities we have with the new facility,” she added, referring to the town’s recent purchase of the Tuxedo Junction club the town intends to make into a cultural center.
“I’m real excited about what’s going to happen in Wake Forest in the next 4-5 years,” she added.
Jones is a longtime Wake Forest resident and lives in Heath Ridge Village. She co-owns Jovi’s Inc., (antiques) with her sister, Jonnie, named for their former Wake Forest catering company and cafe.
Newbies in Franklin County
In Franklin County, a few newcomers are hoping to sit at the front of the town’s boardroom.
Franklinton incumbent John Allers was the first to file in hopes of retaining his seat.
Second in line was political newcomer Johnny Wayne Mitchell. The business owner and former police officer said he decided he wanted to join the commissioners in order to make some needed changes. Among them is more focus on the police department. Residents have previously come to the board concerned about the lack of controls. Mitchell said he’d like to see police officers more in town, rather than spending time on U.S. 1.
Franklinton has three commissioner seats opening.
Youngsville also has three commissioners whose term has ended, as well as the position of mayor.
So far, the only one who filed was Terry David Hedlund, seeking his first term.
Hedlund said he decided to run to represent his neighborhood East Woods of Patterson. Residents have approached the board previously for complaints regarding construction noise as well as other things necessary for the area.
So far, none of the incumbents have filed.
That isn’t the case for Louisburg. Already, incumbents Mayor Karl T. Pernell, Boyd Sturges and Joe Shearon have filed.
Current Bunn Commissioner Charlene Clay has also filed for reelection, though the other incumbents, including Mayor Marsha Strawbridge, have yet to file.
Rolesville incumbents file
All three candidates up for reelection in Rolesville have filed notice of their intent to run as incumbents.
Ronnie Currin, Frank Hodge and Betty Whitaker are running unopposed so far for their current seats on the town’s board of commissioners.
School board crowded
All elections take place in November except for Wake County School Board, which holds its election in October.
Tom Benton of Zebulon has filed to continue as District 1 representative on the Wake County School Board. Benton was appointed to the position after Chris Malone was elected to N.C. House of Representatives.
Filing for other districts are Deborah Prickett and Zora Felton in District 7 and Nancy Caggia for District 9.
— Editor Clellie Allen and Associate Editor David Leone contributed to this report.