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Early voting begins for Oct. 10 primary for Asheville council
Thursday, 05 October 2017 10:51

From Staff Reports

Early voting began Sept. 21 — and will run through Oct. 7 -— for the Asheville City Council and city mayoral primary election, which will be held on Oct. 10.

Three candidates are running for mayor, including incumbent Esther Manheimer, along with challengers Martin Ramsey and Jonathan Wainscott.

A fourth mayoral candidate, Jonathan Austin Glover, suspended his campaign in mid-September, noting that “it comes down to lack of financial resources.” He was the lone black candidate for mayor. Glover’s name will remain on the primary ballot.

Primary voters are allowed to vote for one mayoral candidate. The top two vote-getters will advance to the Nov. 7 general election.

Meanwhile, 12 candidates are running for council, including Pratik Bhakta, incumbent Cecil Bothwell, Andrew Fletcher, Jeremy Goldstein, Vijay Kapoor, Jan (Howard) Kubiniec, Rich Lee, Kim Roney, Sheneika E. Smith, Adrian Vassallo, Dee Williams and incumbent Gwen Wisler, who serves as vice mayor.

Primary voters will get to chose three council candidates. The six top vote-getters in the council race will move on to the general election. The winners will occupy three council seats. (There are seven members of council, including the mayor.)

To vote early, citizens must visit Buncombe County Election Services at 77 McDowell St., entering via the Choctaw Street entrance. Voting hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, through Oct. 6. There also is early voting from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 7.

Only those who are registered can vote. Those who are not registered will need to register by proving that one is an Asheville resident. That can be done by showing one of the follow: a current and valid photo ID, a current utility bill, a bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document that show one’s name and address.

Meanwhile, campaign finance reports for the period through the end of August showed that the 12 council candidates who are not competing for mayor had raised an average of $14,575, the highest on average since at least 2011.

However, mayor candidates were averaging much less — at $2,341. That is minuscule when compared to the amount raised at the same point by mayoral candidates in the last race in 2013, when they averaged $14,308 in inflation-adjusted dollars.

The reports show that Glover had raised $800, while Manheimer, an incumbent, collected $8,563. The two remaining canididates, Ramsey and Wainscott, had said at this point they would raise no more than $1,000. That means they were not required to turn in campaign finance documents.

Glover, who worked as a soccer referee and financial planner, served as chairman of the Asheville Housing Authority Board of Directors. Glover was also on the Citizen-Times editorial board.

Along with fellow candidate Ramsey, Glover signed up to run on July 21, the last day to file, making him the first minority mayoral candidate since 2009, when Terry Bellamy, who is African-American, was re-elected.

Glover said he wants to focus on helping the city address financial pressures, reducing homelessness and drug addiction and close the “disparity in wages.”

After dropping out of the race, Glover said he is not endorsing another candidate.

In another election matter, six of the 12 council candidates showed up for a Sept. 13 forum at West Asheville Library to compete for the endorsement of the Asheville Democratic Socialists of America. About 100 people attended. 

The national DSA, according to the organization’s website, “is a political and activist organization, not a party.... Democratic Socialists believe that both the economy and society should be run democratically to meet human needs, not to make profits for a few.”

The six candidates appearing included Bothwell, Kubiniec, Lee, Roney, Smith and Williams.

At the start of the forum, the moderators asked, “Do you consider yourself to be a socialist – and what does that mean to you?”

Four of the six candidates present — Bothwell, Lee, Smith and Williams — said they did, indeed, consider themselves socialists, while Kubiniec and Roney said they did not.

The afternoon after the forum, the Asheville DSA announced that Williams was its members’ choice for the organization’s endorsement.

Finishing second in the DSA’s voting was Lee, followed by Roney in third place.



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