WATAUGA — Twenty-three community members have filed to run for a local office in Watauga County, all aimed at the Nov. 2 general election. The filing period ended at noon on July 16.
Of the four municipalities in Watauga County, Boone has the highest number of candidates with 10 people running for Boone Town Council and one person running for mayor.
For mayor, Tim Futrelle (Democrat) is running to replace outgoing mayor Rennie Brantz. For the Town of Boone Town Council, Dalton George (Democrat), Virginia Roseman (Democrat), Todd Carter (Democrat), Benjamin Ray (Republican), Adrian Tait (Unaffiliated) and Eric Woolridge (Unaffiliated) have filed to run. Four others — Edie Tugman (Democrat), Eric Brown (Unaffiliated), Christy Cook (Unaffiliated) and Rebecca Nenow (Unaffiliated) — are running for the unexpired seats on the town council.
In Blowing Rock, four people are running for town council and one person —Charlie Sellers (Republican) is running for mayor. For Blowing Rock Town Council, Nancy Pitts Collins (Democrat), Pete Gherini (Republican), Doug Matheson (Democrat) and Melissa Pickett (Republican) are running.
For Beech Mountain, Weidner Abernethy (Republican), Erin Gonyea (Republican) and Barry Kaufman (Unaffiliated) are running for town council.
Seven Devils has four total people running for the Seven Devils Town Council. Jeffrey Williams (Republican), Leigh Sasse (Republican) and Brad Lambert (Republican) are running. Wayne Bonomo (Unaffiliated) is running for the unexpired term on the town council.
Lambert — who filed at approximately 11:30 p.m. on July 16 — was the last person to file to run for office.
Watauga County Director of Elections Matt Snyder said the approximately two-week filing period was busy and there were only a few days that no one filed.
“We’re very grateful to those that are willing to take some time out of their life and help their communities by serving in a leadership role,” Snyder said. “We’re excited that we have folks willing to help out in their communities.”
Snyder said the Boone Town Council 10-person race is one of the largest contests for the council that he has seen.
The next step for the county board of elections, Snyder said, is to secure all of the election day voting sites. For the November election, there will be 11 total polling places.
Boone will have eight precincts — New River 1, New River 2, New River 3, Boone 1, Boone 2, Boone 3, Brushy Fork and part of Blue Ridge. Blowing Rock and Seven Devils voters will vote in their respective town halls. Beech Mountain voters will vote in the Buckeye Recreation Center.
Only those who live in the municipality can vote in the November elections. The board will also appoint precinct judges at its Aug. 13 meeting for two year terms. August is also a busy time for the board with new voter registrations coming in.
“We will be closely monitoring guidance from the state board of elections as far as health protocols and things like that and keeping an eye on what’s going on with the current health environment,” Snyder said.
If a community member is not registered to vote, Snyder encourages them to go to the office — located at 842 W. King St., Suite 6 — and register. People can also do so online via the Department of Motor Vehicles.
“We will close this chapter and just start getting prepared for the fall elections,” Snyder said. “We just want to encourage everybody to get out and vote.”
The first day to mail in absentee ballots will be Oct. 3. Voter registration closes on Oct. 8 at 5 p.m. One stop early voting begins on Oct. 14 and ends on Oct. 30. More information on the upcoming election can be found at www.wataugacounty.org/App_Pages/Dept/BOE/notices.aspx.