With the period for filing as a candidate in this year’s municipal elections at the Wilkes County Board of Elections ending at noon Friday, so far only one person has filed in North Wilkesboro and five have filed in Wilkesboro.
The mayor and two of the four councilmen will be elected in Wilkesboro, while North Wilkesboro voters will choose three of the five commissioners. These are all four-year terms. Town races in Wilkes are non-partisan, which means there are no party primaries.
On Monday, Greg Minton of Skyland Drive and incumbent Gary Johnson of Spring Valley Road joined incumbent Jimmy Hayes of Laurel Road and Andy Soots of College Street in seeking seats on the Wilkesboro Town Council. The other Wilkesboro candidate so far is Mike Inscore of Skyland Drive, seeking re-election as mayor.
Johnson is seeking his second consecutive term after serving from 2007-2013. Minton, a Wilkes County commissioner from 2014 to 2018, is a first-time town candidate. Inscore and Hayes are seeking their fourth straight terms. Soots was elected to his first term in 2013 and was narrowly defeated in 2017, after calling for a recount. Before 2013, he unsuccessfully sought a Wilkesboro Town Council seat four times.
In North Wilkesboro
Bert Hall of Finley Avenue, Joe Johnston of 10th Street and Junior Goforth of Main Street are up for re-election as North Wilkesboro commissioners. Hall filed when the period for doing so began July 5. He has been on the board since 2001, when he was first elected.
Johnston said Friday that he wouldn’t seek re-election and Goforth said Monday that he was undecided about filing for a second term. Johnston was appointed to fill Jeffrey Elmore’s unexpired term in December 2012, after Elmore was elected to the N.C. House. He was elected in 2015.
Johnston explained that seven years as a commissioner was enough time dedicated to the town and that he wanted to devote more attention to other responsibilities, including his furniture manufacturing business, Johnston Casuals in North Wilkesboro.
He said a lot of good things were accomplished in North Wilkesboro while he was on the board and that he was confident the new town manager would keep the town on a strong track. Wilson Hooper, a City of Charlotte employee for a little over 12 years, starts as North Wilkesboro town manager on July 29.
Johnston said he regretted that the governments of Wilkesboro and North Wilkesboro weren’t able to communicate and work together better during his time on the board. “We started out talking and then drew apart,” he said about the two governing bodies.
Oct. 11 is the last day to register to vote on Election Day, which is Nov. 5.
However, people eligible to vote can register and vote at the same place and time during one-stop, early voting. This period is Oct. 16 to Nov. 1. Absentee voting by mail begins on Oct. 4. The deadline to request a ballot for absentee voting by mail is 5 p.m. Oct. 29.
Filing fees are $10 for North Wilkesboro commissioner, $50 for Wilkesboro councilman and $84 for Wilkesboro mayor. To file for municipal office, a person must be a registered voter in Wilkes County, a resident of the municipality in which the person is filing and at least 21 years old.
The Town of Ronda won’t hold elections in 2019 because they will now be conducted in even-numbered years, starting with November 2020, under legislation signed into law this month.
More details about filing for office and other election matters are available at www.wilkescounty.net or by calling the Wilkes County Board of Elections at 336-651-7339.