Triangle Politics A weekly look at the local political scene

Two to challenge Durham mayor Bill Bell this fall

July 19, 2013 


Bill Bell, Durham Mayor


East Durham minister Sylvester Williams and business consultant Michael Paul Valentine are challenging incumbent Mayor Bill Bell in this fall’s election.

Bell defeated Williams in 2011, taking 82 percent of the vote. Valentine is a newcomer to Durham politics.

The mayor and the three City Council ward seats are the only races in the fall city election. Ward members must live in their wards but are elected citywide.

Filing closed Friday with Mayor Pro Tem Cora Cole-McFadden unopposed for a fourth term representing Ward 1. In Ward 2, four candidates are running to succeed retiring Councilman Howard Clement: bail bondsman Omar Beasley, retired teacher Eddie Davis, funeral home owner Franklin Hanes and financial adviser Del Mattioli.

Don Moffitt, appointed in January to represent Ward 3 after former Councilman Mike Woodard won election to the state Senate, is seeking election to a full four-year term but faces a challenger in former County Commissioner Pam Karriker.

A primary Oct. 8 will eliminate one mayoral candidate and two candidates in Ward 2. The general election is Nov. 5.

Wake candidates

Wake County’s municipal election filing period closed Friday, too. Here’s the line-up for municipal races outside Raleigh:

Apex: Incumbents Terry Rowe and Gene Schulze, and challengers Chad Price, Nicole Dozier, Jennifer Ferrell and Denise Wilkie for three council seats. Current Councilman Lance Olive did not file for re-election.

Cary: Incumbent Ed Yerha for Town Council at-large; incumbent Jennifer Robinson and challenger Karl Thor for council District A; incumbent Jack W. Smith and challenger Deborah Pugh for council District C.

Fuquay-Varina: Incumbent John W. Byrne and challenger Beth Cassels for mayor; newcomers Bryan Haynes, Sean Hearn, Blake Massengill, Shannon Rowland, Tom Williford and Jason Wunsch for two seats on Board of Commissioners. Cindy Sheldon and Jim Abernethy aren’t seeking re-election.

Garner: Incumbents Kathy L. Behringer and Gra Singleton and challenger Jeanette Hagwood for two council seats.

Holly Springs: Incumbent Dick Sears and challenger Vinnie DeBenedetto for mayor; incumbents Jimmy Cobb and Linda Hunt Williams, and challengers Cleve Bardin, Hank Dickson, Gerald Holleman, Timothy Howard, Teshor J. Oates, Tom O’Brien, Anthony Perna and Arthur (Pete) Utley Jr. for three council seats. Chet VanFossen isn’t seeking another term.

Knightdale: Incumbent Mike Chalk and challengers Mark Swan, V. Charles Bullock and Randy Young for three seats on Town Council. Jeff Eddins and Tim Poirier aren’t seeking re-election.

Morrisville: Incumbent Jackie Holcombe and challengers Narendra Singh and Mark Stohlman for mayor; incumbent Steve S. Rao and challenger Pete M. Martin for Town Council at-large; newcomers TJ Cawley, Vinnie Goel and Curtis Smith for council District 2; incumbent Margaret E. Broadwell and challengers Rao Bondalapati and Vicki Scroggins Johnson for council District 4. Councilman Steve Diehl isn’t seeking re-election.

Rolesville: Incumbents Ronnie Currin, Frank Hodge II and Betty P. Whitaker are unopposed for three commissioners seats.

Wake Forest: Incumbent Vivian Jones and newcomer Bill Randall for mayor; incumbent Margaret Jones Stinnett and challengers Mike Cole, Shinica N. Thomas and Jim Thompson for two seats on board of commissioners. Commissioner Frank Drake did not file for another term.

Wendell: Incumbents Ira C. Fuller and Virginia (Ginna) Gray, and challengers Jon Lutz and John M. Boyette for three seats on the Board of Commissioners. Christie Adams isn’t seeking another term.

Zebulon: Incumbent Robert S. (Bob) Matheny and challenger Richard Poole for mayor; incumbent Beverly Wall Clark and challengers Anne-Marie Mazur, Michael Mazur, Annie J. Moore and Glenn York for two seats on the Board of Commissioners. Roy Collins isn’t seeking another term.

Preparing for bond referendum

The group that hopes to persuade Wake County voters to back this fall’s $810 million school construction bond is bringing back a familiar face to help get the job done.

The Friends of Wake County has hired Democratic political strategist Brad Crone to be one of the campaign consultants. Crone worked on the last three successful bond campaigns in 2000, 2003 and 2006.

The group rebuffed Crone’s offer of assistance in 1999. That proved to be a mistake as Crone was hired by the group that helped defeat the bond.

In addition to Crone, Friends of Wake has hired Republican political strategist Chris Sinclair, considered an expert on digital campaigns. Sinclair hasn’t previously worked on Wake school bond campaigns, but his firm has worked on bond campaigns in Florida.

Political Trails

• Durham County Republicans’ outreach committee hosts a meeting of black Republicans at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Durham Regent, 3007 Pickett Road. Topics include New Methods and Strategies to Get More African Americans Involved in the Durham GOP, outreach events, guest speakers and leadership training. Contact Emily Walker,

Compiled by Jim Wise, Colin Campbell and T. Keung Hui.

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