From a colorful, itinerant street preacher to a highly successful insurance agent, the 15 candidates for Asheville City Council run the gamut of ideologies and personalities. But then, what would you expect in a diverse city that’s facing a pile of pressing issues?
This year’s crop of candidates are young and old, male and female, black and white, affluent and not. For many, it’s their first foray into electoral politics. But to hear them talk, they all have at least a few things in common: a love of Asheville, a desire to help shape its future—and a need to win the support of a sufficient number of the city’s roughly 57,000 registered voters in the nonpartisan Oct. 9 primary.
To help our readers make up their minds, Xpress asked all 15 candidates some hard questions about key issues facing the city, including their stances on annexation, affordable housing, the environment, the Interstate 26 Connector and mass transit. Among the more controversial issues covered are The Ellington, a 23-story high-rise proposed for downtown, and the move to switch to partisan city elections.
The top six vote-getters in the primary will proceed to the Nov. 6 general election, where they’ll vie for the three seats currently held by Jan Davis, Bryan Freeborn and Brownie Newman. Freeborn, who was appointed to fill the vacant City Council seat of Mayor Terry Bellamy, is seeking his first electoral victory.
If you haven’t yet registered to vote, you’re out of luck as far as the primary is concerned, but there’s still plenty of time to register to vote in November. The deadline is Friday, Oct. 12 (25 days before the election). Eligible residents can also take advantage of one-stop absentee voting through Oct. 6.
See you at the polls Oct. 9.
Click on the images below to view Q&A responses from each candidate.
For details about the municipal-election process, visit the Buncombe County Election Services Web site at www.buncombecounty.org/governing/depts/Election/