Filing closes for Orange County races
The election filing period came to a close Friday, and the Chapel Hill Town Council race appears to be the one to watch in the fall.
Ten candidates have filed for election to four seats on a council that is assured of at least two new faces because current members Laurin Easthom and Gene Pease decided not to seek re-election.
Six of the 10 who filed also applied to fill a council vacancy created when former councilwoman Penny Rich was elected to the Orange County Board of Elections.
The council appointed former councilwoman Sally Greene to the vacant seat to complete Rich’s term. Greene, who previously served on the council from 2003-2011, is now one of the 10 seeking election to the council.
The other nine candidates include Gary Kahn, Maria T. Palmer, Paul Neebe, Loren Hintz, Amy Ryan, George Cianciolo, Jonathan Riehl, Mayor Pro Tem Ed Harrison and newcomer Dante “D.C.” Swinton.
Although Swinton is a newcomer to Chapel Hill, he’s not new to politics.
In 2010, Swinton was a candidate for a seat in the South Carolina state House.
Surprisingly, there are no challengers in the three mayoral races in Orange County.
Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens and Carrboro Alderwoman Lydia Lavelle, who is seeking to replace outgoing mayor Mark Chilton, are all running unopposed in their mayoral bids.
The three will be elected mayors of their respective towns in November provided there are no successful write in candidates.
“I’m grateful that people have been satisfied with the leadership, and that leadership includes the community and the council,” Kleinschmidt said. “It takes all of us to govern effectively.”
In other Orange County races, James Barrett, an incumbent member of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education – which has three seats in play, has filed to run again.
Michelle Brownstein, an incumbent and the board’s chairwoman and challengers Andrew Davidson and Ignacio Tzoumas all have thrown their hats into the ring.
In Hillsborough, Jenn Weaver, Kathleen Ferguson and Meighan Lela Carmichael have filed for two seats up for grabs on the Town Commission.
In Carrboro, incumbents Randee Haven-O’Donnell, Jacquelyn Gist and Sammy Slade have filed to return as aldermen, along with challengers Kurt Stolka and Al Vickers. The five candidates are vying for three seats.
In Mebane, incumbents Ed Hooks, Tim Bradley and Jill Auditori have filed for election to three council seats.
Early voting begins Oct. 17 and runs through Nov. 2. Election Day is Nov. 5.