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Kapoor, Manheimer sweep to primary wins; Bothwell fails to make cut, blames Williams
Wednesday, 01 November 2017 21:31

From Staff Reports 

In an Oct. 10 primary, voters whittled the field to two of three mayoral candidates and six of 12 candidates for Asheville City Council to advance to the Nov. 7 general election.

 Incumbent Mayor Esther Manheimer took a runaway lead with 8,511 votes. Manheimer, an attorney, often is praised for her ability to think on her feet, combined with a deep understanding of state and local law, rendering her an anchor amidst the sometimes wide-ranging requests that come before council.

 The next closest mayoral contender, Martin Ramsey, will also be on the ballot, having received 1,729 votes. Ramsey is openly socialist, with his website flaunting the red flag held aloft and advocating for “quality social(ist) services.”

 Failing to make the cut in the mayor’s race was Jonathan Wainscott, who often has accused council of committing egregious budgetary overruns, or of subsidizing the craft beer industry at the expense of established neighborhoods. 

 Meanwhile, Vijay Kapoor led the council race by more than 1,500 votes then the next finisher, capturing 17.6 percent of the vote. 

Kapoor rose to prominence by challenging a large development proposed for his South Asheville neighborhood. He became known as a defender of neighborhoods, and executed an organized campaign for council with volunteers working hard to get him name recognition in other parts of town.

 Finishing second with 12.8 percent of the vote was Sheneika Smith. The organizer of Date My City, Smith campaigned on issues of equity, particularly among people of different races and different income levels.

Finishing in third place, at 11.3 percent, was Vice Mayor Gwen Wisler. While serving on council, Wisler has gained a reputation for scrutinizing financials and asking questions that hold staff members’ feet to the fire. She is regarded as being less inclined to chase hot-button issues than to make sure council is presented with a sensible set of facts.

 Next, with 10.7 percent of the vote, was Dee Williams. Williams’ platform included incentivizing living wages, setting up land trusts to provide permanent affordable housing, eliminating toxic chemicals from the environment, and lending to clean energy enterprises.

 Following Williams was Rich Lee, at 10.0 percent. Lee often participates in council meetings and has detailed opinions on several issues, including equity, affordability, and clean and green transportation.

 The final candidate to make the cut was Kim Roney, garnering 9.9 percent of the vote. Roney campaigned as a neighbor, concerned about affordable housing, living wages, accessible transit, green space preservation, and other factors affecting quality of life in communities.

 Roney edged out incumbent Cecil Bothwell, who only received 9.6 percent of the vote. Since Bothwell was defeated by less than 1 percent, state law allowed him to request a recount, but he chose not to exercise that option.

 Colorful as always, Bothwell said one of the reasons he lost was that Williams won votes by promising action beyond the legal limits placed on council’s power. He vowed to do all that he could to ensure Williams’ defeat in the general election, while saying he was not bitter at his defeat.

What’s more, Bothwell endorsed Smith — a move that could drain Williams’ base. Williams countered the allegations by saying she was offering hope with practical and creative solutions.

 Also not making the cut were former Planning and Zoning Chair Jeremy Goldstein; Adrian Vassallo, a long-time pragmatic voice on downtown livability and business issues; Pratika Bhakta, the only Republican in the race; busker Andrew Fletcher; and frequent candidate Jan (Howard) Kubiniec. 



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