The choice is yours

Here we go: Three mayoral candidates and nine Council candidates are on the ballot heading into the primaries. Early voting for Asheville's municipal election began on Sept. 17 and runs through Oct. 3, followed by the big day at the polls on Oct. 6.

This year's campaign season has already seen some shakeups since filing ended in July. Two filers, mayoral candidate Denise Pendleton and Council candidate Jenny Bowen, have quit the race, though their names will still appear on the ballot. Readers won't find incumbent and write-in candidate Robin Cape on this summary, as there is no option to fill in write-in candidates on the primary ballot. She will, however, have a spot in our General Election candidate Q&A in October. On the primary ballot, voters can each pick three Council candidates and one mayoral candidate. Once all is said and done, six Council and two mayoral candidates will go into November's general election.

Meanwhile, there is no shortage of opportunities to see candidates in action. Forums and appearances are scheduled all around town (see "Campaign Calendar"). Some have even issued their own surveys. Several candidates have answered the "The Get There Asheville" multimodal transportation survey; results are online at

If you haven't registered, don't fret. You can still register for the primaries at one-stop voting at the Buncombe County Election Services headquarters, 189 College St.

In the next few pages, you can read candidates' answers to 10 questions we thought most pressing for the city of Asheville heading into the election. We asked candidates to keep answers to 50 words or less (a no doubt daunting task). Still, because of space constraints, the answers have been edited for length as well as clarity.


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24 thoughts on “The choice is yours

  1. J

    The only candidate that Brownie Newman, top vote earner of ’07, has endorsed is Esther Manheimer.

    I think that speaks volumes.

  2. Gordon Smith


    I just wanted to add to your comment that Brownie Newman nominated me to fill the seat left by Holly Jones. He has also hosted an event for my campaign in his home.

    Thanks for the opportunity!

  3. J

    I cannot find anything on Gordon’s website that declares he was endorsed by Brownie Newman; so either he has not been endorsed by Councilman Newman, or he is not proud of it.

  4. J

    …as an afterthought, in fairness, I suppose an endorsement could always be forthcoming, but it has not happened as of the day the voting guides were published.

  5. Lindsey

    J- I believe Jan Davis received 49 percent of the votes in the general election of ’07 and Brownie Newman received 43 percent.

  6. Tigerswede

    Jan Davis also endorsed Esther Manheimer, and he is probably the most respected on City Council. I saw Gordon trying to schmooze up to Jan Davis at Brewgrass, too funny!

    Don’t worry about Gordon, he makes up his own facts.

  7. Gordon Smith

    I may not have mentioned it anywhere else, but I’d also like to take this opportunity to say that I’m the only candidate to be endorsed by former City Councilwoman and current County Commissioner, Holly Jones.

  8. Andrew Dunn

    As someone who was involuntarily annexed into the City of Asheville, I will be making a point to vote AGAINST any candidate who supports this supremacy. Ultimately, the leadership in the state legislature will need to change in order to solve this problem but until then, it’s time to punish arrogant candidates. The claim that cities have to annex to stay economically afloat is a lie. South Carolina does not have the out-of-control annexation policies we do and Greenville and Charleston are hardly economically depressed. The services I and my neighbors received from Buncombe County were top-notch: we did not need, did not want and are not getting anything beneficial from the City of Asheville. I now go out of my way to avoid shopping in Asheville. (Downtown Hendersonville rocks by the way!) Forced annexation will be a big issue with the voters in 2010. We’ve had enough!

  9. j

    Is there a rift in the progressive community?

    The Progessive Research Group has villified Esther Manheimer as “The Developer’s Candidate”, yet, she’s the only one to garner an endorsement from leading progressive Brownie Newman. Councilman Newman was one of the opponents to the slate of Developer Candidates last term.

    How can it be that Manheimer has Newman’s endorsement and is a Developer’s Candidate?

  10. Since endorsements are being mentioned, I’ve been endorsed by: former Mayor Leni Sitnick; former Commissioner and District 11 congressional candiate Patsy Keever; former Buncombe Democratic Party Chair Kathy Sinclair; Buncombe Dems African American Caucus Chair Isaac Coleman; Christians for a United Community Director Tyrone Greenlee; Asheville Buncombe Community Relations Council Director Bob Smith; current and past chairs of the WNC ACLU, Alex Cury, Bruce Elmore, James Harrison and Karen VanEman; Jim Pitt, chair of NC chapter- National Alliance on Mental Illness; Asheville Greenworks Director Susan Roderick; numerous local business leaders and:
    Asheville Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW)
    Asheville Fire Fighters Association (AFFA)
    People Advocating Real Conservancy (PARC)
    Sierra Club
    UNCA College Democrats

  11. oh come on, bryan – you’re not still harboring bitterness over not getting appointed to city council again, are you? try actually getting elected. maybe i’ll be impressed.

  12. shadmarsh

    I would like to point out that I am the only candidate that has been endorsed by George Vanderbilt.

  13. Arratik…Not sure what you are talking about. Are you saying that asking Gordon to clarify his comments opposed to putting out half truths equals bitterness? WOW! The reality is that I was the only candidate for the appointment that actually been on the ballot for City Council or was requested for an interview by both Newman and Mumpower. If Council wants to go in a different direction, that is their prerogative. I’ve moved on. But when a candidate who says they are for openness and transparency in government, I think that should tell the truth and not make things out to be more than they really were or are.

  14. Tigerswede

    Has Coven Oldenwilde endorsed Gordon? They were so important during his Parkside debacle,why has this important endorsement been overlooked.

  15. J

    Why is Arratik, outgoing administrator at scrutiny hooligans, casting out random and pointless insults? This is akin to mindless Chad Nesbitt attack dog tactics; and how does it serve to get Gordon elected?

    Is this further evidence of a rift in the progressive community?

    This seem a little odd. Brownie Newman was at one of Gordon’s functions, Charles Carter has attended Gordon’s functions, Bill Russell has attended Gordon’s functions. Gordon campaigned at a church with Mayor Bellamy and Commissioner Gannt.

    All of these figures have met Gordon, and had a close look at his campaign, yet none of them have come around to endorsing him. What’s going on here?

  16. Belinda

    I don’t give a crud who endorses whom. I’m more concerned with where people stand on the issues. Enough with the name-dropping bullcrap.

  17. Captain Spiffo

    Why is J, obvious friend or supporter of Manheimer, taken to the blogs to put down her opponents and talk her up? This is akin to trying to get an honest opinion from a used car salesman.

    As someone who is going to vote, you’re turning me and probably a lot of other people off of your candidate. So well done.

    Oh and “Is this further evidence of a rift”… Creating fake drama where there is no drama…
    You’re grasping.

    The only thing going on here is you either beinga paid or an active supporter of your candidate trying to slime your way into some extra votes.

    Good luck with that.

  18. Captain Spiffo…Well said. I mean how do you take comments from people posting with initials and fake names seriously. And who is the “progressive community”?

  19. J

    Awwww….you guys are so mean.

    Actually, Bryan’s right.

    I just thought it’d be fun to tease Gordon and Cecil about the coveted endorsement of Brownie Newman.

    Based on Gordon’s quick response to establish any sort of relationship between himself and Brownie, and Cecil’s random interjection of himself, I’d say my goading worked.

    You have to give a hand to the other candidates for having enough restraint, or maybe it’s class, for staying out of a pointless squabble about who endorsed who.

    Democracy is but a spectacle, and I am here to entertain. I at least entertained myself.

  20. Captain Spiffo

    Wow J, that was quite a tone change from your previous posts. Did the valium kick in?

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