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Saffo-Peterson mayoral race headlines 2021 Municipal Elections

Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 1:10 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The first of two filing periods has ended for the 2021 November Municipal Elections in North Carolina. There will be several races to watch in cities, towns and villages leading up to Election Day, November 2.

The highest-profile race will be for Mayor of Wilmington. Incumbent Bill Saffo, the longest-serving mayor in the city’s history, is seeking an eighth full term in office. He will be challenged by former state senator Harper Peterson, who served as the city’s mayor from 2001-03 and on city council from 1995-99.

Three seats on Wilmington City Council will be on the ballot in November. Incumbents Clifford Barnett and Charlie Rivenbark have both filed to seek new terms, while Kevin O’Grady did not. Six other candidates have filed to run in the council race, including former councilman Paul Lawler, who lost his seat in 2019. The other candidates are Jonathan Uzcategui, Luke Waddell, Philip White, Angelica Ulmer and Joel Brookins.

Mayor LeAnn Pierce of Carolina Beach did not file to run for a second term. Lynn Barbee has filed to run for mayor after winning a seat on town council in 2019. He will face former mayor Dan Wilcox, who held the office from 2013-17 before losing to Joe Benson.

In Wrightsville Beach, voters will see the same two names in the mayoral race as they did in 2019. Greg Buscemi, who lost the race to Mayor Darryl Mills two years ago, has filed to challenge him once again.

With incumbent Rufus Duckworth not on the ballot this year, Sue Elkkins Hester and Joey Todd are running to become the new mayor in Bladenboro. As of the Noon filing deadline, no candidates had filed to run for mayor in Dublin or Tar Heel in Bladen County.

In Bald Head Island, current Village Councilman Peter Quinn is running for mayor against Lou Ann Earnhardt. Craig Caster is not seeking reelection as mayor in Boiling Spring Lakes, with current town commissioner Tom Guzulaitis and former Oak Island councilman Jeff Winecoff running for the seat. Liz White is challenging incumbent Mayor Ken Thomas in Oak Island, while Leigh Simmons is challenging incumbent Mayor Debbie Smith in Ocean Isle Beach. Incumbent William Kirby will be challenged for his seat as Mayor of Varnumtown by Judy Galloway.

The filing period for offices in Navassa and Southport will be July 26 to August 13, since the district elections in those municipalities are taking place in 2021.

In Columbus County, the filing period for candidates running in Lake Waccamaw will also be July 26 to August 13. The municipal elections in the City of Whiteville, which are district races, are rescheduled until March 2022 because of a delay in data from the 2020 U.S. Census.

Atkinson’s current mayor, Elton Wendell Newkirk, is being challenged current town commissioner Bryan Stewart. Mayor Kenneth Cowan of Burgaw is being challenged for the office by Olivia Dawson.

To see the list candidates that have filed to run in your community, click on your county below:

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