Raleigh mayor faces challengers in re-election bid

ccampbell@newsobserver.comJuly 19, 2013 

— In her first bid for re-election, Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane faces challenges from a political newcomer and a familiar face in local politics.

Real-estate broker Venita Peyton and chiropractor Robert Weltzin filed to run for the mayor’s seat this week. Peyton is a longtime community activist who has run unsuccessfully for various local offices before.

Peyton ran for mayor in 1997 against then-incumbent Tom Fetzer, garnering 40 percent of the vote. She ran again two years later, crossing from Democrat to Republican to endorse Paul Coble in a runoff election. More recently, she’s run for Wake County commissioner and school board.

Peyton now describes herself as an unaffiliated candidate who is upset about Raleigh’s current leadership and the firing of City Manager Russell Allen.

“In removing the city manager, they also removed the security of our city employees,” Peyton said Friday. “It has destabilized them. ... It is important to me that we restore credibility and integrity to Raleigh.”

Weltzin is a new face on the Raleigh political scene, having moved to the area in 2010 to serve as a reserve military police officer. He says he is interested in public safety issues as well as the city’s growth.

“I’ve always been interested in politics, especially since Raleigh became my home,” he said after filing Friday morning. “Raleigh needs a mayor to help build the community and have the forward thinking to assist in developing new jobs.”

In city council races, only District E Councilman Bonner Gaylord is running unopposed. All other incumbents are seeking reelection with a challenger or two.

The at-large contests – with incumbents Russ Stephenson and Mary-Ann Baldwin – heated up late in the filing period with two challengers, Red Roof Inn employee and former Republican precinct chairman Jason Spriggs, and St. David’s School technology director Rob Williams.

The other council races look like this:

North Raleigh Council District A: Incumbent Randy Stagner and challenger Wayne Maiorano

Northeast Raleigh Council District B: Incumbent John Odom and challengers Brian Fitzsimmons and Sam Smith

Southeast Raleigh Council District C: Incumbent Eugene Weeks and challengers Marcus Hill and Racquel Williams

Southwest Raleigh Council District D: Incumbent Thomas Crowder and challenger Jim Kemp Sherron

Wake school board

Each of the four Wake County school board seats up for grabs this fall has two candidates. District 2 – which covers Garner and southern Wake – is the only contest without an incumbent, as John Tedesco plans to step down.

The races are officially nonpartisan, but in recent years both political parties have been heavily involved in the campaigns. No matter the outcome, this fall’s election won’t change the Democratic board majority.

Matt Scruggs, a Republican precinct official and auto parts store manager from Fuquay-Varina, filed Friday to run against Monika Johnson-Hostler in District 2. Johnson-Hostler – who is executive director of the N.C. Coalition Against Sexual Assault and president of the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence – is a registered Democrat.

In northern and eastern Wake’s District 1, incumbent Democrat Tom Benton of Zebulon faces Don McIntyre, a Wake Forest Republican. Incumbent Republican Deborah Prickett and challenger Zora Felton, a Democrat, are running in District 7, and incumbent Bill Fletcher and challenger Nancy Caggia, both Republicans, face off in District 9.

Campbell: 919-829-4802

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