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Deputy election directors Larry Henson and Donna Houck prepare booklets to be distributed to candidates starting Friday, when filing opens at noon. Photo by Kellen Short



Originally published: 2013-07-02 18:36:23
Last modified: 2013-07-02 18:37:38

Candidate filing starts Friday

Watauga County will get its first peek at the 2013 slate of municipal candidates as filing begins at noon Friday.

Through noon on July 19, candidates may file to run for the town councils in Beech Mountain, Blowing Rock, Boone and Seven Devils. The voters also will elect a mayor in Blowing Rock and Boone on Nov. 5.

"We're real excited," Watauga County Elections Director Jane Ann Hodges said. "We encourage people to come out and file for these municipalities. We would like to see the voters have a choice."

One race to watch will be the Boone Town Council, which in 2011 saw three Democratic candidates run unopposed. Recent tensions between the Boone Town Council and Watauga County Board of Commissioners have led to numerous cries of "vote them out!" on both sides -- although no commissioner terms end this year.

On the Boone Town Council, the seats currently held by Rennie Brantz, Jamie Leigh and Allan Scherlen are up for election. Mayor Loretta Clawson, first elected in 2005, has said she does not intend to run again.

Blowing Rock also has three seats opening on the town council, plus the position of Mayor J.B. Lawrence, who has served since 1997. The council seats are currently held by Tommy Klutz, Doug Matheson and Jim Steele.

In Seven Devils, council members David Hooper's, Kay Ehlinger's and David Ehmig's terms are ending.

The terms of Beech Mountain Town Council members Cindy Keller, Rick Miller and Paul Piquet also end this year. In Seven Devils and Beech Mountain, the mayor is selected from within the council after the election.

"We really are not hearing anything from Seven Devils," Hodges said. "I'm anticipating that to be a very low-keyed election for their town. Beech Mountain, I think there's quite a bit of interest, also Blowing Rock. And also in Boone, if candidates will come out, I think it will be a fairly active election."

Voters who aren't planning to throw their hats into the ring may update their registrations and ensure that they are properly registered. The deadline to register to vote in the fall elections is Oct. 11.

Early voting will run from Oct. 17-Nov. 2.

Voting locations have not yet been announced. Hodges said she typically recommends to the Board of Elections that they combine a couple of polling places that typically get few voters during municipal elections. She also typically recommends moving a polling place from the Foscoe Fire Department to the Seven Devils Town Hall to make it more convenient for that town's voters.

Those decisions probably will not be made until August, Hodges said, after a new board of elections has been sworn in.

Much work goes into the municipal election season, despite typically underwhelming turnout.


UP FOR A VOTE

Seven Devils
Town Council
(Two four-year terms and one two-year term)


Seat of David Hooper
Seat of Kay Ehlinger
Seat of David Ehmig


* The mayor and mayor pro tem are selected from within the council after election


Beech Mountain

Town Council
(Two four-year terms and one two-year term)
Seat of Cindy Keller
Seat of Rick Miller
Seat of Paul Piquet
* The mayor and vice mayor are
selected from within the council
after election


Blowing Rock Town Council

(Two four-year terms and
one two-year term)


Seat of Tommy Klutz
Seat of Doug Matheson
Seat of Jim Steele


Mayor J.B. Lawrence (two-year term)


Boone Town Council

(Two four-year terms and one
two-year term)


Seat of Rennie Brantz
Seat of Jamie Leigh
Seat of Allan Scherlen


Mayor Loretta Clawson
(four-year term)