It’s election day in North Carolina, with municipal offices being decided across the state.
Locally, the race for Mount Gilead mayor has garnered much attention, as Mayor Patty Almond defends her record after one year on the job, and faces a challenge from former Mayor Earl Poplin, who served four terms in the position.
After Poplin announced his retirement from the office more than two years ago, political newcomer Almond and former Town Commissioner and Mayor Pro-Tem Benjamin Blake vied for the seat and faced each other in the municipal election of November 2011. Allegations of voter discrimination at that time triggered a year-long battle that involved hearings before the North Carolina State Board of Elections, ultimately resulting in last November’s special election, which Almond won with 53% of the vote.
Allegations of voting irregularities surrounded Almond’s campaign last year, including formal complaints filed with the State Board of Elections and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services alleging that residents of Tillery Chase Adult Care Home were being bribed for their votes with promises of cigarettes and trips to McDonald’s. No charges were brought as a result of the complaints.
This year, rumors are circulating that vote-buying has been going on during the early voting period, but there has been no confirmation of any official investigation.
Also in Mount Gilead, two Town Commissioners have been campaiging to keep their seats on the board. Mayor Pro-Tem Tim McAuley and Commissioner Branson Webb are facing opposition from political newcomer James Shuman and from Woodrow Steele, who has run for municipal office on several previous occasions.
Elsewhere in Montgomery County, there is a four-way race for three seats on the Troy Town Commission, where county utilities director Chris Hildreth is challenging incumbents Bruce Hamilton, James Hurley and Angela Elkins.
Troy Mayor Roy Maness is running unopposed.
In Star, Alice Clemens, Jennifer Fountain and Mark Maynard are running for three seats on the town board, and the Mayor of Star will be decided through a write-in vote.
In Candor, Phillip Hearne is running unopposed for Mayor, with Layton Booker, Frank Harris and Tim Smith running for three seats on the Town Commission, and Jerry Brewer running for an unexpired term on that board.
And in Biscoe, Town Commissioner Jimmy Blake is running unopposed for the office of Mayor, while incumbents Jimmy Cagle and Gene Anderson are facing opposition from Sammy Price and Eddie Reynolds in a four-way race for three open seats on the Biscoe town board.
Residents inside the corporate limits of the county’s five towns are eligible to vote in today’s elections, and regular municipal polling places are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
WMTG will have full local election results, with coverage starting at the closing of the polls this evening. As with last year’s election, the coverage will be provided in a series of updates about every 10 minutes until the final results are in.