Ballots are set for the fall municipal and school board elections, and Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane is facing challenges from a political newcomer and a familiar face in local races.
As the Friday deadline approached, real estate broker Venita Peyton and chiropractor Robert Weltzin filed for the mayor’s seat. 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 unsuccessfully two years later, and broke ranks with Democrats when she endorsed Republican Paul Coble in his runoff victory against Stephanie Fanjul. More recently, she’s run for Wake County commissioner and school board.
Peyton now describes herself as an unaffiliated candidate who’s upset about Raleigh’s 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’s 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. “I would like to see more of a development aspect of Raleigh.”
In City Council races, only District E Councilman Bonner Gaylord is running unopposed. All other incumbents are seeking re-election 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. Jason Spriggs is a recent Wake Tech graduate and Republican who works at a Red Roof Inn.
Spriggs, who is black, says it’s important that more minorities seek leadership roles. “Raleigh gets so many accolades, but people who are less advantaged get left behind,” he said.
Rob Williams filed Friday. He’s a political newcomer who serves as director of technology at St. David’s, a private elementary and high school. “I think politics today are terribly divisive from the national level on down,” he said. “The city has such a potential to be a great city.”
Here’s the lineup for the contested district council races:
North Raleigh District A: Incumbent Randy Stagner and challenger Wayne Maiorano.
Northeast Raleigh District B: Incumbent John Odom and challengers Brian Fitzsimmons and Sam Smith.
Southeast Raleigh District C: Incumbent Eugene Weeks and challengers Marcus Hill and Racquel Williams.
Southwest Raleigh District D: Incumbent Thomas Crowder and challenger Jim Kemp Sherron.
School board races
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 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. Johnson-Hostler – who is executive director for 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 Tom Benton faces Don McIntyre, a Wake Forest Republican. Incumbent Deborah Prickett and challenger Zora Felton are running in District 7, and incumbent Bill Fletcher and challenger Nancy Caggia face off in District 9.
Here’s the final ballot lineup for northern Wake towns:
Wake Forest: Incumbent Vivian Jones and newcomer Bill Randall for mayor; incumbent Margaret Jones Stinnett and challengers Shinica N. Thomas, Mike Cole and Jim Thompson for two seats on the board of commissioners. Current Commissioner Frank Drake did not file for another term.
Rolesville: Incumbents Ronnie Currin, Frank Hodge II and Betty P. Whitaker are unopposed for three seats on board of commissioners.