Thursday, July 25, 2013
(Last modified: 2013-07-25 08:39:32)

Source: The Blowing Rocket

Seven candidates filed July 19 for municipal seats in Watauga County, closing the filing window with competitive races in each town except Seven Devils.

“We were surprised that we had as many (candidates) as we did today, but we are thrilled,” Watauga County Board of Elections Director Jane Hodges said last Friday. “We feel the voters always need a choice, and we feel they have some good choices.”

Blowing Rock

The Blowing Rock mayoral contest will pit incumbent J.B. Lawrence against challenger Dan Phillips, who currently sits on the Blowing Rock Town Council.

If Phillips were successful in his race for mayor, his unfinished term would be filled by the council after the election.

For town council, six people will seek three seats: David Barker, Laurin Carter, Tommy Klutz Jr., Doug Matheson, Ray Pickett and Sue Sweeting.

Klutz and Matheson currently serve on the board.

The top two vote-getters will serve four-year terms, and the third successful candidate will be granted a two-year term.


In Boone, the race for mayor added two new names: Brad Harmon and John Mena.

Harmon, owner of Harmon’s Dixie Pride, and Mena, a 2009 mayoral candidate who owns Haircut 101, joined in the race with current town council member Andy Ball, who filed July 5.

Harmon is a Republican, Mena is unaffiliated and Ball is a Democrat, according to N.C. Board of Elections records.

For Boone Town Council, Matthew Long, James Milner and Mark Templeton submitted their names Friday. They join in the race with candidates Rennie Brantz, Quint David and Jennifer Pena, who filed earlier
Brantz and Pena are both history professors, with Brantz at Appalachian State University and Pea at Wilkes Community College, while David works for IONCON (It’s Only Natural) Engineering.

The final three candidates to file come from similar backgrounds: Long is a co-founder of Capehart & Washburn General Contractors; Milner is a commercial real estate agent; and Templeton manages Templeton Properties, a real estate development company.

Development in the Boone area continues to be an important issue as the town nears completion on an overhauled Unified Development Ordinance, a project in the works since October 2010. The council also enacted a controversial ordinance change this spring intended to boost the supply of affordable housing for the workforce.

Brantz is the only incumbent seeking to return to the board, which has three open seats.

Pena and Brantz are registered Democrats, Long is Republican  and David, Milner and Templeton are unaffiliated voters, according to the N.C. Board of Elections.

All of the 2013 municipal races are nonpartisan, however.

Beech Mountain

In Beech Mountain, the entry of Barry Schorr into the race July 19 took the field to five candidates for three seats.

The other candidates are Eddie Plante and incumbents Cindy Keller, Rick Miller and Paul Piquet.

The top two successful finishers will receive four-year terms, while the third successful candidate will receive a two-year term.

The mayor and vice mayor will be selected from within the council after the election.

Seven Devils

In Seven Devils, the candidate slate remained unchanged after July 8. Incumbents Kay Ehlinger, David Ehmig and David Hooper are all seeking re-election.

The vote Nov. 5 will determine which two candidates earn four-year terms and which candidate is granted a two-year term.

A mayor and mayor pro tem will be selected from within the council after the election.

At a glance

Blowing Rock Mayor
J.B. Lawrence
Dan Phillips

Blowing Rock
Town Council
(3 seats available)
David Barker
Laurin Carter
Tommy Klutz Jr.
Doug Matheson
Ray Pickett
Sue Sweeting

Boone Mayor
Andy Ball
Bradford (Brad) Harmon
John Mena

Boone Town Council
(3 seats available)
Rennie Brantz
Frank (Quint) David
Matthew C. Long
James Milner
Jennifer L. Peña
Mark Templeton

Beech Mountain
Town Council
(3 seats available)
Cindy Keller
E. (Rick) Miller
Paul Piquet
Edward (Eddie) Plante
Barry Schorr

Seven Devils
Town Council
(3 seats available)
Kay Ehlinger
David Ehmig
David Hooper

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