The local political season officially launched at 8 a.m. on July 6 with the start of the filing period for people seeking seats on the Asheville City Council or any of a host of other local town boards.
Candidates file at the Buncombe County Board of Elections, and the filing period runs through noon on Friday, July 17. Here are some other key dates:
• Friday, Sept. 11: Deadline to register to vote in primary election
• Tuesday, Oct. 6: primary election
• Friday, Oct. 9: Deadline to register to vote in general election
• Tuesday, Nov. 3: General election
Asheville City Council will feature the highest-profile contests. Mayor Terry Bellamy is seeking re-election to a second four-year term. Three Council seats are also up for grabs. Incumbents Carl Mumpower and Kelly Miller have declared their intention to run again, while Robin Cape has said she won't seek re-election. So far, no one has mounted a serious campaign to challenge Bellamy for the mayor's job (but see “A Candidate of a Different Stripe,” July 1 Xpress).
Mumpower, who last year made an unsuccessful run for Rep. Heath Shuler's congressional seat, hasn't yet held any campaign events for City Council. Miller was appointed in December to fill the Council seat left vacant by Holly Jones' election to the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. Miller, an Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce executive, recently held a party to kick off his election bid.
Meanwhile, several other candidates have been actively campaigning. Writer and former Mountain Xpress editor and reporter Cecil Bothwell, who ran unsuccessfully for the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners last year, has been on the campaign trail, as has Gordon Smith, a counselor with the Looking Glass Center for Counseling and Psychiatry who's making his first bid for public office.
Other political newcomers include Jen Bowen, a photographer; Esther Manheimer, an attorney with the Van Winkle Law Firm; and J. Neal Jackson, a businessman who runs a convenience store on Eagle Street.