If the number of candidates on the ballot is any indication, this fall should bring an exciting campaign season to southern Mecklenburg.
The filing period for 2017 municipal elections closed at noon July 21, and the slates in all three southern towns are brimming with candidates eager to serve their towns for the next few years.
“This trend started several years ago. We have a lot of people interested in the local process,” said Mecklenburg County Board of Elections Director Michael Dickerson.
“Any way you shape it, it’s good for democracy.”
Dickerson says to look for campaign signs to start lining streets, yards and businesses shortly after Labor Day, as candidates start campaigning and vying for votes.
Election day is Nov. 7 with early voting beginning Oct. 19.
For information on the 2017 election, voter registration, polling places, and candidate info, visit https://www.mecknc.gov/BOE.
Matthews mayor Jim Taylor isn’t running for re-election. Former Matthews commissioner and current CMS school board member Paul Bailey and incumbent commission Larry Whitley are competing to take Taylor’s place as mayor for the next two years.
“We have an open seat for mayor in Matthews, and that doesn’t happen very often. That, in itself, should encourage more people to show up at the polls,” Dickerson said.
Six commissioner seats are also up for grabs. Two of those are open seats as Whitley will be running for mayor, and commissioner John Ross did not put his name on the ballot for re-election.
Candidates for the six Matthews commissioner seats are Norah F. Burke, Allen Crosby, Barbara Dement, Sebastian Feculak, incumbent John Higdon, incumbent Christopher L. “Chris” Melton, incumbent Jeff Miller, Kress Query, Dimple Shah and incumbent John Urban.
Matthews commissioners are elected to serve two-year terms.
Mayor Ted Biggers is running unopposed for his 11th consecutive term as mayor, but the Board of Commissioners will look a little different next year as long-serving commissioner Carl “Mickey” Ellington is not running for re-election. There are plenty of folks that would like to take his place at the dais.
Candidates for the four Mint Hill commissioner seats are Lloyd Austin, Mike Cochrane, incumbent Dale Dalton, Alonzo R. Grier, incumbent Richard “Fig” Newton, Eric Random and incumbent Katrina (Tina) Ross.
Mint Hill commissioners serve two-year terms.
Mayor John “Jack” Edwards is being challenged by two candidates who also want to lead the town for the next two years: current council member David Phillips and Amelia Stinson-Wesley.
Phillips’ term on the council does not expire until 2019, so if he does not win the mayoral election, he can serve out the remaining two years of his council term. If he wins the mayoral seat, council will appoint a replacement for him.
The four-member Pineville Town Council has two seats up for election every two years for staggered four-year terms.
Vying for the two council seats up for election this year are Melissa Rogers Davis, incumbent L.R. “Les” Gladden, Scott Goldsmith, Joseph “Joe” Maxim, incumbent Christopher McDonough and Juliet Van Dyke.