Bell leads first-day election filers

Jul. 05, 2013 @ 06:41 PM

Mayor Bill Bell led the parade of first-day filers that saw five other people put their names on the ballot for this fall’s city election.

Bell, 72, is seeking his seventh term as mayor. He first won election in 2001 and since then has had to run against only one well-funded challenger, former City Councilman Thomas Stith in 2007.

“We’re moving in the right direction,” Bell said of his reasons for seeking another term. “The city has become very attractive for the business community.”

He added that he believes the city will soon see benefits from a number of announced downtown projects, and that he will continue pushing neighborhood-level revitalization efforts including the Rolling Hills/Southside project.

The mayor so far has no announced opposition.

Friday’s filings made it clear there will be a contested race for the City Council’s Ward 2 seat, which incumbent Howard Clement will vacate in December. The initial filers included announced candidates Eddie Davis and Del Mattioli.

Political newcomer Franklin Hanes, a funeral-service owner, made it a three-way race.

Meanwhile, incumbent council members Cora Cole-McFadden and Don Moffitt filed for wards 1 and 3, respectively.

Cole-McFadden is seeking her fourth term; Moffitt, an appointed replacement for former Councilman Mike Woodard, is seeking his first full term.

Moffitt faces a likely challenge from former County Commissioner Pam Karriker, who has yet to file. Cole-McFadden doesn’t have any announced opposition.

Hanes said he joined the race in hopes of finding a solution for the city’s crime problems, which a recent string of homicides has underlined.

He worries the state’s move earlier in the week to cut off unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless may exacerbate crime. “People are going to feed their families,” Hanes said. “I don’t know how they’re going to do it, but they’re going to do it one way or another.”

Davis likewise has said he wants to combat homicides, and Mattioli has singled out job creation initiatives as a priority.

Incumbents Cole-McFadden and Moffitt voiced similar sentiments.

Cole-McFadden said her goals include continuing “the [revitalization] work we’re doing in our target neighborhoods, doing what we can to reduce violence in this city, trying to do what we can to preserve the environment and [continuing] to make Durham a great place to live, work and play.”

Moffitt said his priorities include job creation and training for “those that need it the most,” and attention to affordable-housing issues and the city’s capital-facility shortages. The latter are issues Karriker singled out last week when she confirmed she plans to run.

The vote for the City Council seats and the mayor’s office will occur citywide. Candidates for ward seats have to live in the wards they wish to represent.

An Oct. 8 primary will, if necessary, narrow the field to two in each race. Friday’s filings made a primary in Ward 2 a certainty.