Martin Ramsey jumps into Asheville mayoral race, triggering primary

Photo by Max Cooper

Martin Ramsey, a local activist who works at Early Girl Eatery, announced July 20 that he’s running for mayor of Asheville.

That sets up an Oct. 8 primary election between Ramsey, incumbent City Council member Esther Manheimer and John Miall, the city’s retired director of risk management. The two candidates who receive the most votes will go on to face each other in the Nov. 5 general election.

Here’s the full announcement from Ramsey, sent to Xpress via email:

On the final day of filing for local offices [July 19] I decided to register to run for the mayoral seat of Asheville. As the window was closing, it became clear that we were to have only two candidates for the office and no primary. Given the circumstances surrounding our city in dealing with a hostile General Assembly, the rewriting of our local election system, corporate welfare, police misconduct, expensive housing, and an over investment in an ecologically and economically unsustainable tourist economy, I could not allow this race to proceed without a meaningful debate on these issues. I was not and am not confident that my opponents would speak to these issues with any depth and Asheville deserves more than another exercise in wishful thinking.

My opponents are undoubtedly competent administrators, judging by their records as public servants and as an attorney and a consultant for pharmaceutical and health care corporations. I, for one, have had quite enough of functionaries, lawyers, and corporate technocrats dictating policy and debate at every level of our government. If the only purpose my campaign serves is to create a community dialogue surrounding the above issues and where our fine city goes from this point, then we will have succeeded. It is not enough to criticize though, and my campaign in the coming weeks will release achievable steps and initiatives to move Asheville in an egalitarian and sustainable direction that is more in line with the values of our citizens. I do not believe that we wish to live in affluence beside one another’s misery, that we wish to silence the voices of the poor, and pauperize our working class. One promise I will make: we will have this debate and we will see how my opponents respond to the frustrations, questions, and aspirations of those in our city marginalized by the poverty of our horizons.

Asheville, Salud!

Martin Ramsey

About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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13 thoughts on “Martin Ramsey jumps into Asheville mayoral race, triggering primary

  1. NFB

    He says he is concerned about Asheville but, according to the NC Board of Elections, failed to vote in the 2009 or 2011 City Council elections.

    He expresses concern about how Asheville is dealing with a “hostile General Assembly” but did not vote in the 2010 election that first gave us this GA nor in the 2012 election which strengthened the hand of those in the GA hostile to Asheville.

    There is an old adage about how “if you don’t vote you can’t complain.” Forgive me if I can’t take his candidacy too seriously.

    • Scotty_Mack

      I wish I hadn’t voted in the 2009 or 2011 city council elections! I voted for a bunch of fake progressives and now I feel like I helped to start another crappy corporate hotel on freshly-privatized city property.

  2. Jamie Hepler

    I’d say that his current stances and intentions are the point here. Past voting record has literally nothing to do with his ability to raise the very important issues he has already mentioned. He has already done more by raising these issues to the level necessary to become hot topics that at this point must be considered and discussed by the rest of the candidates than you have done by prying into his voting past. Kudos to Martin and thank you for raising issues that actually matter in a local election. Ill be very excited to see what else comes of this brave and commendable move.

  3. Fred Johnson

    Gee, Michael, is that the only criticism you can ever think of? To look up someone’s voting record? You know there are many, many people who care about Asheville and work hard every day to make it a better place, that themselves never set foot inside a voting booth? Way to police the status quo there, guy.

  4. NFB

    “I’d say that his current stances and intentions are the point here. Past voting record has literally nothing to do with his ability to raise the very important issues he has already mentioned.”

    You are absolutely right. But his past voting record does display a strong level of apathy which makes it hard to give much credence to him on the issues he raises no matter how valid they may be.

    To sit out the 2010 election — the one that gave us the reactionary General Assembly he complains about and then to sit out the 2012 election after having had that reactionary for two years displays not only a strong sense of apathy but a lack of responsibility.

    The message is valid but the messenger lacks a great deal of credibility.

    • RD

      Your logic is flawed. There are a multitude of legitimate reasons one could have for failing to vote in elections that have nothing to do with the degree to which that person is “concerned” or “credible.”

  5. Lord Ben

    Or maybe his priorities have changed in 4 years *gasp*

    And wanting to change things for the better makes you a dbag? Sure kid

  6. Jamie Hepler

    I think it’s interesting that you’re willing to base an entire persons credibility on what they didn’t do on two occasions ranging over the last several years. Sounds to me like you just don’t like his stances and you would love any reason to discredit him.

  7. Rob

    NFP is the only voice of reason on this thread. The guy has basically been a lazy sack the past 4 cycles and now wants to run for Mayor? It’s nothing more than a fad to him and shame on everyone else here for trying to lend him credibility. You are an embarrassment to this city.

  8. R. Moby

    Ideas and voiced concerns don’t get you anywhere. Just because you say these are issues we should be concerned about does not mean you are qualified to be Mayor. Evidence of pro-active experience, such as what Esther Manheimer has amply demonstrated is an imperative. Wasting votes based on a brief statement such as this, is precisely that, a waste.

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