Karriker in, Kalkhof out of Ward 3 council race

Jun. 30, 2013 @ 07:34 PM

It’s a case of one in, one out as potential candidates continue to jockey for this year’s Ward 3 City Council race.

Former County Commissioner Pam Karriker confirmed this week she’s “planning on running” for the seat held by Councilman Don Moffitt. Filing for the election opens Friday.

Meanwhile, former Downtown Durham Inc. President Bill Kalkhof Friday said he’d decided against running for the seat.

Kalkhof openly mulled running in both the 2011 and 2013 election cycles, in 2011 pulling back just before the opening of filing. He retired from DDI in the spring and was considered a likely candidate this year.

But he said he’s following the advice of friends who urged him to “take at least six months to a year before [making] any major decisions about” what to do post-retirement.

Kalkhof also cited the opportunity to undertake consulting work “which will keep me engaged in downtown revitalization in Durham and other cities in North Carolina.”

Moffitt, an appointee who at the start of the year replaced former Councilman Mike Woodard, is a certain entry into this year’s Ward 3 race. He’s said he feels obliged, as an appointee, to seek a full term so voters can pass judgment on his council service.

He formed a campaign committee on April 18 and stocked it with $1,425 left over from his unsuccessful run in 2008 for a County Commissioners seat.

Karriker likewise signaled her intent by forming a campaign committee, registering it with the Board of Elections on June 11. She deposited $50 into its bank account.

“This has definitely been a fairly recent development,” Karriker said of her election plans, acknowledging she’d decided “in the last month” to get into a race she’d been lukewarm about earlier in the year.

Karriker ran for the Ward 3 seat in 2005, finishing third behind Woodard and then-incumbent John Best. She served on the commissioners in 2011 and 2012 as an appointed replacement for former Commissioner Becky Heron.

City government nowadays is “heading in a really good direction in a lot of areas,” and with City Manager Tom Bonfield in charge of the administration is in good hands, Karriker said.

But she said officials have to look harder for ways to boost cash allotments to street paving and building maintenance, items where the council has fallen short of meeting its own budget targets.

Additionally, “I am really concerned about the situation in the city as far as affordable housing,” Karriker said, citing the late-2012 closure of the former Lincoln Apartments as an example of why “people of lower incomes having access to affordable places to live” needs to move to the front burner as an issue.

It “is a problem that government can’t solve, but we can put the players together and talk about ways to solve the problem,” she said.

The intentions of another potential candidate, former city and county administrator Anita Daniels, remain uncertain. She could not be reached for comment.

Daniels sought the appointment Moffitt received and has an active campaign committee in place from an unsuccessful run for the County Commissioners in 2012.

She told the Board of Elections Feb. 26 she didn’t intend to raise or spend more than $1,000 in the 2013 election cycle. But campaign-finance rules allow her to change plans on short notice.

The 2013 city election will decide the occupants of the council’s three ward seats, plus the mayor’s office. The council incumbents are Moffitt in Ward 3, Cora Cole-McFadden in Ward 1 and Howard Clement in Ward 2. Bill Bell is the city’s mayor.

Aside from Ward 3, the Ward 2 seat is generally regarded as the one most likely to generate a high-profile race this year. Clement has been ailing and has missed most of the council’s meetings since late 2011.

Ward 3 has been in play since Woodard ran for and won a N.C. Senate seat last year.

The council’s three at-large seats – held by Eugene Brown, Diane Catotti and Steve Schewel – aren’t up for election again until 2015.

Council members serve four-year terms. The mayor serves a two-year term.

Ward candidates have to live in the ward they represent, but they campaign for votes citywide, just like at-large candidates. In rough terms, Ward 1 covers northern Durham, Ward 2 southeast Durham and Ward 3 western Durham.