More than a dozen eager political hopefuls were waiting in line when the Wake County Board of Elections opened at noon Friday for the beginning of the fall election filing period.
In all, 25 candidates signed up to get on the ballot for four Wake County school board seats, Raleigh city council races and town board contests in Cary and other smaller Wake towns.
Longtime Fuquay-Varina Mayor John Byrne was first in line. He’s seeking a seventh term to lead the southern Wake town, and he arrived more than an hour before the filing period opened.
“If you’re going to file, you might as well be first,” he said.
Byrne had company at the front of the line from Raleigh City Councilman Randy Stagner and incumbent school board member Tom Benton. The first-day filers said they were eager to officially kick off their campaigns; many have already been fundraising and knocking on doors for months.
“I have been excited about running for this race since last fall,” said Mark Stohlman, a Morrisville town councilman who’s now seeking the mayor’s chair. “I love representing the town of Morrisville.”
The elections office had a festive atmosphere as candidates posed for photos and chatted about local politics. Another Morrisville council candidate, T.J. Cawley, passed out small American flags and thanked his fellow contenders for running.
Incumbent Deborah Prickett and her challenger, retired educator Zora Felton, joined Benton in filing for school board Friday. Incumbent Bill Fletcher plans to file next week, with Nancy Caggia also seeking his seat. A fourth incumbent, John Tedesco, hasn’t announced whether he’ll run.
All seven Raleigh council incumbents and Mayor Nancy McFarlane say they’ll seek another term, though Stagner and Councilman Eugene Weeks are the only official filings so far. Attorney Wayne Maiorano filed Friday to run against Stagner in North Raleigh. Challengers have also emerged in three other district council seats, though none had filed by Friday afternoon.
The filing period continues until noon on July 19. Voters will pick leaders for Raleigh, Cary and the Wake County school board on Oct. 8. All other Wake towns hold municipal elections Nov. 5.
Other first-day filings include:
Cary: Incumbent Jack Smith for council district C; incumbent Ed Yerha for at-large council.
Wake Forest: Incumbent Vivian Jones and challenger Bill Randall for mayor.
Morrisville: Stohlman for mayor; Vicki Scroggins-Johnson for council district 4; Cawley for council district 2.
Apex: Incumbent Gene Schulze and newcomer Chad Price for council.
Holly Springs: Incumbent Dick Sears and challenger Vinnie DeBenedetto for mayor; incumbent Linda Hunt Williams and newcomer Anthony Perna for town council.
Fuquay-Varina: Incumbent Byrne for mayor; newcomers Sean Hearn and Tom Williford for town commissioner.
Rolesville: Incumbent Betty P. Whitaker for commissioner.
Knightdale: Incumbent Mike Chalk and newcomer Mark Swan for town council.
No candidates have filed yet in Garner, Wendell and Zebulon.