The local political season will officially open at 8 a.m. on Monday with the start of the candidate filing period for people seeking seats on Asheville City Council and a host of other local town boards.
Candidates place their paperwork with the Buncombe County Board of Elections, and the filing period remains open until noon on July 17. Here are other key dates:
• Sept. 11: Deadline to register to vote in primary election
• Oct. 6: Primary election
• Oct. 9: Deadline to register to vote in general election
• Nov. 3: General election
The race for Asheville City Council will be the most high-profile contest. Mayor Terry Bellamy is seeking re-election to another four-year term. Three council incumbents have seats up for election. City Councilmen Carl Mumpower and Kelly Miller have declared their intentions to run again, while Councilwoman Robin Cape has said she won’t seek re-election. No challenger to Bellamy has come forward publicly.
Mumpower, who last year launched an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Congress seat held by Rep. Heath Shuler, has said he’ll seek another council term, but he hasn’t held any campaign events yet. Miller was appointed to council in December to fill the seat left vacant by Holly Jones, who won election to the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. Miller, an Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce executive, recently held a kickoff party to start his campaign.
Meantime, 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, has been on the campaign trail, as has newcomer Gordon Smith, a counselor with Looking Glass Center for Counseling and Psychiatry. Smith is making his first bid for public office.
Jen Bowen, a photographer, and Esther Manheimer, an attorney with the Van Winkle law firm, are both making their first runs for public office. So is J. Neal Jackson, a businessman who runs a convenience store on Eagle Street.
Go to the Buncombe County Board of Elections Web site for more information about the upcoming elections.
— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor