by Lisa Sorg
Two days down, eight to go: Candidate filing for the 2009 election opened Monday, with candidates seeking the top spot as Chapel Hill mayor and duels brewing in Durham Ward 2 and on the Wake County school board.
In Raleigh Council District D, incumbent Thomas Crowder is expected to run against architect Ted Van Dyk, who had not filed as of press time, but has announced he will soon. Two at-large seats are up for grabs Bill Shakespeare, Ricky Lee Sartain and Robert Claris hope to dethrone incumbents Russ Stephenson and Mary-Ann Baldwin, who plan to run as well.
The board of education candidate list is packed. (See “Wake school board race takes shape,” June 27.) Deborah Vair and Rita Rakestraw will spar in District 1, while John Tedesco, Horace Tart and Cathy Truitt go head-to-head-to-head in District 2. Karen Simon has filed in District 7 and Ray Martin has staked his claim for District 9.
In Cary, incumbent Julie Robison is seeking re-election to an at-large seat, with Cynthia Sinkez and incumbent Jack Smith filing for District A and C, respectively.
So much for rumors that Mike Woodard would run for Durham mayor: The councilman is seeking a second term in Ward 3, which includes parts of north and west Durham. Meanwhile, in southern Durham, Ward 2 voters can choose, so far, between incumbent Howard Clement III, who’s running for a seventh term, and Durham County Libertarian Party Chairman Matt Drew.
Early voting for these races (Durham's is a primary) begins Sept. 17. Election Day is Oct. 6, with runoffs, if necessary, on Nov. 3. The Indy’s endorsements issue will be published Sept. 16. Wake Board of Elections and the Durham Board of Elections have additional information.
This is the first year for voter-owned election funding in Chapel Hill, which adds to the intrigue, since Mayor Kevin Foy is not running for re-election. Under the pilot program, mayoral and town candidates can qualify for public funds maximum $9,000 for mayoral candidates, $3,000 for council candidates.
To be eligible, mayoral candidates must declare they haven’t collected more than $1,500 in seed money since Jan. 1; that limit for participating town council candidates is $750. Subsequently, mayoral and council hopefuls can raise and spend $4,500 and $2,250 in qualified contributions, respectively. Qualified contributions are those made by Chapel Hill residents in amounts from $5-$20. Once those requirements are met, the candidates qualify for public funds.
Vying for the top job is Town Councilman Mark Kleinschmidt, who works as an attorney at the Center for Death Penalty Litigation, is expected to run, although he has yet to file. First-term Town Councilman Matt Czajkowski, who had not attended a town council meeting before he was elected in 2007, hasn’t yet filed but will reportedly try to out-conservative Augustus Cho, a bigwig in Orange County’s small GOP circles who lost in the Congressional District 4 Republican primary to Cary’s B.J. Lawson.
For Town Council, Gene Pease has said he will run, while Penny Rich, who was unsuccessful in her last bid, has filed and will take advantage of the voter-owned election funding. A new group, Citizens For Responsible Government, composed of some top developers and longtime players in Chapel Hill—Omar Zinn, Phil Post and Bruce Ballentine—has stated it “expects to play a significant role” in Chapel Hill’s elections.
In Carrboro, incumbents Jacquie Gist and Randee Haven-O’Donnell are running for another term on the Board of Aldermen, while activist Sammy Slade is looking to occupy the seat of John Herrera, who is not running for re-election. All these candidates have pledged to raise no more than $3,000.
Just one person has filed so far for the three vacant seats on Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board: Michelle Brownstein. She has taken the $3,000 pledge.
Tom Stevens is running for his third term as Hillsborough mayor. He has pledged to accept the $3,000 limit on campaign contributions. Likewise, Mike Gering plans to run his campaign on the cheap, less than $3,000, as he for runs for re-election to Hillsborough’s town commission.
In Chatham County, no one has yet taken the plunge for Town Council, although incumbent Mayor Randy Voller is running; he will face at least one challenger, William Crawford.
Durham, Orange and Chatham counties hold early voting Oct. 15-31, with Election Day Nov. 3. The Indy will endorse in those races, and any Wake County runoffs, in the Oct. 14 edition.