Bruce, Calhoun City
and Vardaman have
By Mack Spencer
The Big Four towns of Calhoun County will all have election campaigns this season.
The most competition will be in Vardaman, where nine candidates are running for the five at-large seats on the board of aldermen.
The death of former alderman A.D. Wright earlier this year, leaving a vacant seat on the board, sparked extra interest in the board races this year.
Though the four remaining incumbents – Jeff Clements, Jeff Hamilton, Wilbur Holmes and Jeannie Winter – are running again, and the new candidates are not necessarily running against those incumbents, the at-large nature of the races means sitting board members may be beaten out for their seats by newcomers.
The other candidates include Robert Earl McGregor, Janice Gillespie, Annie Douglas, Frances Simmons and Susan High.
Clements, Hamilton and Winter are running as Republicans, as is James Marshall Casey, who is unopposed for mayor. All other candidates are running as independents.
No Republican primary is required, because there are more positions available than candidates running under the party label.
The county’s largest municipality has two contested races on the ballot.
Mayor Robert Edward Oakley is nearing the end of his first year in office after winning a special election to replace Jesse Quillen. Oakley is being challenged in the Democratic primary by alderman Jessey Higdon, who is vacating the Ward 4 seat on the board
The other contested race is in Ward 5, where four candidates are running, and three will meet in the general election.
Ward 5 voters may have to decide whether they want to vote for alderman or mayor, as Vonda Keon and Carter Parr will meet on primary day in the Republican balloting. The winner between Keon and Parr will face Democratic candidate Craig Tutor and independent candidate Lyn Parsons.
The primaries will be held on May 5.
The rest of Bruce’s board is set, as the candidates in the other wards are unopposed. The Ward 1, 2 and 3 incumbents – John Earl Armstrong, Johnny Armstrong and Gary Edwards – are all running unopposed as Democrats. Steve Nelson qualified as a Republican and will replace Higdon in Ward 4.
n Calhoun City
One contested race will be fought in Ward 3, where Donna Cole seeks to oust Larry Bratton from the board of aldermen.
Mayor J.R. Denton and aldermen Jerry Vaughn, Ward 1; Marshall Coleman, Ward 2; Dale Hays, Ward 4; and Barbara Goodson, Ward 5, are all unopposed.
All Calhoun City candidates are running as independents.
Seven candidates are vying for the board of aldermen.
All five incumbents – Richard Blaylock, Charles Lynn Bobo, David Martin, Charles Pulliam and Judy Tedford – are running for re-election. Also seeking election are Jim Scarbrough and Willie Mhoon.
Mayor Dock Gabbert is running unopposed for another term.
All are running as independents.
The incumbents in Pittsboro are running unopposed as independents.
Mayor Reda Bullard and aldermen Fred Bullard, Jimmy Franklin, Cindy Hubbard, Barbara Kellum and Keith Thacker will serve another term in office.
n Slate Springs
Candidates in Slate Springs are running unopposed as independents.
Mayor Del Hemphill will serve another term with Edna Gregg, Marlene McPhail, Darnell Nabors, Dale Weeks and Frankie West on the board.
n Big Creek
One seat on the board of aldermen will change hands.
Buddy Litten decided not to seek re-election this year. Dee Harrison was expected to file to run for the seat.
Other than Harrison, only the other incumbent board members – Karen Devall, Bobby Harrison, Ronald Harville and Scott Norman – had filed to run for the at-large seats early last week.
Dwight Devall is also unopposed for another term as mayor.
All Big Creek candidates are running as independents.