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by Eric Ginsburg

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GREENSBORO CANDIDATES FILE EARLY AS ELECTION SEASON BEGINS

Filing began July 5 for the upcoming Greensboro City Council election, and already several candidates have filed to run.

The typically crowded at-large field has already started to swell, with several familiar names from previous council elections signing up to run again. Sal Leone, a perennial candidate who has alternated his party affiliation, former District 4 Councilman Mike Barber and conservatives Chris Lawyer and Jean Brown have filed to run for one of three at-large seats.

Mayor Pro Tem Yvonne Johnson, who serves at large, has also filed to run again. Current at-large Councilwoman Nancy Vaughan hasn’t filed yet, but her well known plans to run for mayor means there’s a seat up for grabs. The top atlarge vote getter is named the mayor pro tem, and given Johnson’s popularity and term as mayor, she is widely expected to hold onto an at-large seat.

Lawyer, who narrowly lost to Marikay Abuzuaiter for an at-large seat two years ago, and Barber are both expected to make it through the primary race. Barber is a Democrat and Lawyer is a conservative, though the races are non-partisan Abuzuaiter has not filed yet but says she plans to do so.

District filing started to pick up on Monday with a few new faces stepping in. Wendell Roth is running in District 3 against incumbent Zack Matheny, who also filed. Tigress McDaniel and Jamal Fox are the only candidates as of press time in District 1 and 2 respectively, but incumbents Dianne Bellamy-Small and Jim Kee are both expected to run for reelection.

Bellamy-Small, a stalwart for the district, initially filed to run for mayor last time around, changing her registration back to District 1 at the last minute.

District 4 is likely the hottest race so far, with former Mayor Bill Knight squaring off against incumbent Nancy Hoffmann. Knight, a conservative who only served one term in office, is challenging Hoffmann after her first round on council. Hoffmann narrowly beat incumbent conservative Mary Rakestraw two years ago and has been active in numerous key issues so far in her brief tenure. This will be a race to watch.

As of press time, nobody has filed to run for District 5 and only George Hartzman is signed up for the mayoral contest. Tony Wilkins, who was appointed by council to serve out the remainder of Trudy Wade’s term when she was elected to the state senate, has said he will run for the seat. Wilkins is an advocate of reducing taxes and ran for the Guilford County Commission last year.

Hartzman has become a well-known and regular critic of council’s decisions and what he says is a lack of transparency. He will face longtime council members Nancy Vaughan and incumbent Mayor Robbie Perkins in the primary, and likely other challengers as well.

Next week begins more in-depth coverage of the Greensboro City Council campaigns, and you can find basic information about candidates at our political website, triadpolitics.info.

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