In the running: The field of Asheville City Council and mayoral candidates

With filing closed on July 19, Ashevilleans now know who's running for office in this fall’s city elections. Three candidates are vying to be the city's next mayor, and five seek to fill three open City Council seats (a sixth candidate, Anastasia Yarlborough, filed but, a few days later, announced on her Facebook page that she was withdrawing).

With three candidates vying for mayor, there will be a primary on Oct. 8. The regular election takes place on Nov. 12. With the state legislature working on voting bills, it’s not yet clear when early voting will commence.

Here's a rundown of the candidates, and their statements, if available.

for Asheville mayor

Esther Manheimer
Occupation, experience: Attorney, current vice mayor
Statement: "Our challenges and opportunities have multiplied, and I see that our need for inclusive, inspired, strategic leadership is perhaps greater than ever. Because I am committed to providing that leadership, I will ask for the people's support to be elected as Asheville's next mayor."

John Miall
Occupation, experience: Consultant. Former risk management director, city of Asheville.
Statement: "I have a passion to return to public service and lead the City of Asheville as its Mayor. I spent a lifetime building relationships and taking leadership roles to achieve success, both locally and nationally. I want to bring those skills to City Hall where I believe they are needed."


Martin Ramsey
Occupation, experience:
works at Early Girl Eatery, activist
Statement: "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."



Asheville City Council

Cecil Bothwell
Occupation, experience: Builder, writer, current Asheville City Council member
Statement: "Bothwell’s platform emphasizes a greener, more sustainable Asheville; maintaining our schools, community centers and parks; equal rights for all Ashevillians; and more affordable housing. In a second term, these areas will be the focus of Bothwell’s endeavors."

Mike Lanning
Occupation, experience:
Former Asheville Police Department officer, former head of Police Benevolent Association
Statement: "I'm running because of the issues with the Asheville Police Department, because there needs to be accountability and transparency…Because somebody up there needs to ask questions, and not just accept the information city staff are giving them."

Gordon Smith
Occupation, experience: family therapist, incumbent Asheville City Council member
Statement: “We can grow Asheville’s middle class and become a more independent, more resilient community. We can have more living-wage jobs, more affordable housing, more affordable transportation, increased food security, and a culture of equality for all of our citizens. Asheville is an aspirational city, and we can rise to this occasion.”


Jonathan Wainscott
Occupation, experience:
woodworker, activist
Statement: "The primary function of the City of Asheville’s City Council is to direct City staff with regards to its delivery of goods and services to the residents of our town. The City's budget is crafted by the Finance Department and approved by vote of Council. Council also serves by election from the registered voters in the community and is charged with bringing the concerns of the citizens to consideration of the implementation of City services. By serving on City Council I will help improve the delivery of municipal goods and services."


Gwen Wisler
Occupation, experience: former CEO of the Coleman Company, consultant
Statement: “As a CEO, I faced many economic challenges. But that experience gave me just what I needed to help the City and our citizens propel Asheville’s economy forward…Safety, health, and quality-of-life are a top priority for me. I will always advocate for multi-modal transportation – that’s a key element in my platform.”



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3 thoughts on “In the running: The field of Asheville City Council and mayoral candidates

  1. Jonathan Wainscott

    I view this race very much like team try-outs. Sometime we may pair off and run some drills together. Other times we will scrimmage. It’s going to be a hard fought race and there may be some bruises along the way. No cheap or dirty fouls, but solid, hard play. Once the new team is established we’ll ice our bruises and move forward as a team. If I win a place on this team I will be a rookie, as every veteran player once was too. I’ll bring game for Asheville, and I look forward to working with my new teammates to bring a better level of service to the community we will be fighting for together. Game on!

  2. James Wykle

    I am only concerned that we need new blood in the City Council and no matter what kind of background you have, it is the action on promised words that prove your worth and so far with the current members, it is only words.. All ideas and plans effect our city and it’s people as well as tourism, so to instill confidence back into the people whoever is elected had better bring their ” A ” game and keep those promises along with keeping the citizens aware and involved or you will become what we already have… nothing.
    We are losing more business with each passing day, month and it is not even mentioned by the City Council, so caring for what is happening is a proven fact, but paying out tax dollars of 1.5 million to create 52 jobs is insane, yes.. the city needs business, but we should be a city to intise other major businesses to come here, not pay them.. We just lost Bele Chere, a great tourism event, granted good and bad things happen, but people, lots of people look forward to the even and that spurs fun for all, it just needs a little tweeking back to it’s origin reason for being done in the first place. I could go on and on, but you know I’m right, so to the new elected want a be’s, our eyes and ears will be wide open on each and everyone of you, just remember that before those great words of wisdom start flowing out of your mouth.

  3. Angela Phillips

    Asheville needs leadership. We are under attack from the legislature and clearly have problems internally with our current leadership. Budget problems and multiple police scandals are demoralizing officers and employees in the ranks. Asheville has three candidates for mayor. One who has no experience in government and one who has served for nearly four years as vice mayor and chair of the Council Finance Committee. She must bear a large part of the blame for the city

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