With one day left in the filing period, the Asheville City Council race is heating up, as the field has grown to eight candidates vying for three seats. After remaining publicly noncommittal for months, Council member Jan Davis filed for another run. Haw Creek Community Association President Chris Pelly and activist Lael Gray also officially joined the race.
The race has a relatively late start this year, with all three incumbents staying undecided until this month, when Council member Bill Russell broke the silence by announcing another run on July 1, at the start of the official filing period.
Davis, who won his last run overwhelmingly four years ago, is vying for his third term on Council. On Council Davis has advocated a light touch towards business and fiscal conservatism. Notably, after initially not backing a domestic partner registry, he ended up supporting both that measure and an LGBT equality resolution.
Pelly, a vocal neighborhood advocate (and candidate for Council twice before), announced his run in April, promising to bring better cohesion and address the needs of Asheville’s neighborhoods. He filed today.
Gray, a freelance graphic designer and longtime activist, has announced, on her campaign website, a platform focusing on “neighborhood sensitive” affordable housing, better transit and attentiveness to environmental concerns.
At the end of the first week of filing, the field grew to five, as engineer Mark Cates, libertarian activist Tim Peck, retired schoolteacher Saul Chase and Greenways Commission Chair Marc Hunt joined the race.
Vice Mayor Brownie Newman has not confirmed if he’ll run for another term, but he’s got one day left to declare it: the filing period ends tomorrow, July 15.
The Oct. 11 primary will narrow the field of candidates to six, and the top three vote-getters in the Nov. 8 general election will go on to Council.
— David Forbes, senior news reporter