Elections in Whiteville take shape

Reported by Claire Simms - bio|email
Posted by Peter Smelser - email

WHITEVILLE, NC (WECT) - As the municipal election filing deadlines passes, the City of Whiteville is headed for an interesting election season.

Six people will be vying for just two Whiteville City Council positions, including the former city manager Joshua Ray, who was fired just six months ago. Only one person filed to run for Mayor of Whiteville.

Current Mayor Dial Gray decided not to seek re-election this fall, leaving current Councilman Terry Mann as the only candidate.

"I'm honored," said Mann. "I still want to do what's best for Whiteville. I have Whiteville in my heart and I just want to improve the quality of life for Whiteville and try to make things better for the citizens."

While the mayoral ballot may be lacking competition, the race to replace Mann on city council is not.

Only two district one seats are available and six people filed paperwork to fill them. In that race is Ray, who was removed from a city office in January after a 4 to 3 vote.

"I just want to do what's right for the city of Whiteville and we have enough citizens who continue to voice their opinions, but council members don't listen and now is the time," said Ray. "Voices have spoken up and said 'why not run?' We had a lot of things that we started that we didn't finish and this is the best way to finish a lot of those projects."

Ray will face serious competition from Vickie Pait, Alexander Shaw, Julius Ryan and Bill Memory. At the same time, incumbent Councilman Tim Blackmon says he'd like to serve another term in his seat.

"I'm the only incumbent running and I think there's a lot of good people running, but experience always counts I think," said Blackmon.

Voters will also choose who will fill a District 2 seat in Whiteville. Incumbent Harold Troy is running for re-election and Karen Odom will be his only opponent.

This November, Whiteville will vote on a big ballot with big implications.

©2009 WECT. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.