The 2017 City Council Election should be a Donnybrook.
It is election time again — this time a Fayetteville municipal election. This fall, voters will elect a mayor and nine City Council members. Council members are elected from districts while the mayor is elected in a citywide vote. Four councilmen will not be in the primary this year. District 9 representative Jim Arp is unopposed. District 5 Councilman Bobby Hurst decided not to seek re-election. Two incumbents have only one opponent.
In an 11th hour turn of events, veteran Councilman Ted Mohn, who represents District 8, jumped into the race after declaring in April that he would not seek a fifth term. John Miner opposes him. Mohn is one of the incumbents who will not face a primary in October. Primaries are elimination elections that must be held if more than twice the number of candidates for seats being selected file. District 4 Councilman Chalmers McDougald is the other member who faces only a single opponent. Former Councilman D.J. Haire chose not to seek re-election four years ago because he was recovering from back surgery.
Two incumbent councilmen are challenging two-term Mayor Nat Robertson. He repeatedly said he would not seek a third term if someone he considered worthy filed for the office.
But, Robertson changed his mind and announced he would run again long before anyone else filed. Since then, Councilmen Kirk deViere and Mitch Colvin declared they, too, want to be mayor. Their decisions and the vacancy in the 5th District mean at least three new members will be elected in the fall.
No fewer than 10 people want to take deViere’s place representing the majority minority District 2. Most of them apparently believe it’s time an African-American serve in the district seat again. The candidates are Len Brown, George Butterfly, Dan Culliton, Ted Donovan, Kia Henry, Kurin Keys, Linda L. Miller, John Mulvaney, Paul Taylor and Tyrone Williams. District 3, represented by Colvin, is also
predominantly black. Melissa Allen, Mike Dobs, Tisha Waddell and Jeremy Wright filed for the seat. District 1 is represented by the only woman on City Council, Kathy Jensen. She had no opposition until Curtis Brown and Cathy Dickens entered the race at the last minute.
Six of the 40 candidates for City Council want to replace Hurst, the dean of the body. He has served five consecutive terms and served on Council earlier 15 years ago. District 5 candidates include former councilman Johnny Dawkins — son of the late Mayor J.L. Dawkins — Hanah Ehrenreich, Tammy Laurence, Tommy Macon, Henry Tyson and Paul Williams, also a former City Council member.
Veteran 6th District Councilman Bill Crisp is seeking a sixth term, despite having said prior to the last two elections and again this year that he would not run again. He’s Council’s elder statesman and has health issues. Crisp is opposed by Gary Blackwell, Jason Brady and Toni Stewart. In the 7th District, incumbent Larry Wright is being challenged by Trevone McNeill, Tawanda Robinson and Calvin Rome. It, too, is a majority minority district.
PHOTO: This fall, voters will elect a mayor and nine City Council members.