By CALVIN ADKINS
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
The filing period for the Nov. 5 municipal election ended Friday with a flurry of nine candidates placing their names in the hat for their respective races.
During the two weeks filing period that began July 5, 39 Edgecombe County candidates filed for 23 seats which are up for election.
"It was very active in our office this morning," said Edgecombe County Board of Election Director Jerry Spruell on Friday. "We had nine people to file. We usually don't have that many people to file on the last day. Looking at the candidates and their seats, it looks like we are going to have some interesting races."
Only seven seats were left uncontested. Tarboro Town Council Ward 7's seat held by first term politician Taro Knight, Conetoe mayor's seat Linda Ingram, two Pinetops Commissioners seat held by Joyce Tolson and Suzanne Coker Craig, and two Macclesfield commissioner seats that are held by Kathryn Cobb Ford and Dennis Sanderson and Rocky Mount Ward 2 Council seat held by Ruben Blackwell.
The most highly contested seat is for Princeville mayor, where four candidates will vie for that seat. Incumbent Priscilla Everette-Oates was one of the nine last-minute candidates who filed Friday. Other candidates who filed for the mayor's seat are Milton Bullock, Bobby Jones and Theresa Williams. William was one of four candidates who ran against Everette-Oates in 2009.
In Tarboro, the mayor's race picked up some surprising candidates after Ward 3 incumbent Rick Page announced a few weeks prior to the filing period that he would run for the seat. Page was the first candidate to file. Running against Page will be Donnie Hale and John Wooten. Current mayor Donald Morris announced months prior to the beginning of the filing period that he would not seek re-election.
Because of Page is not seeking re-election for Ward 3, that left his seat open. Three first-time candidates filed for Ward 3 —Steve Burnette, Leshaun Jenkins and restaurant operator Stephen Ribustello.
Tarboro Town Council Ward 1 incumbent Gerrelene Walker and Ward 5 incumbent Candis Owens both filed for their respective seats and both drew opposition. Retired Tarboro police department officer Carl Benson and Othar Woodard will run against Walker while former town councilman John Jenkins filed against Owens. Owens defeated Jenkins in 2009
In Conetoe, five people are running for four commissioner seats. Incumbents Jesse Pettaway, Wilson Jones, Leon Wynn and Milton Goff Jr. have filed. Johnny Respass have also filed for a seat. Conetoe commissioners are selected at-large. The four candidates with the highest number of votes will be elected.
The races in Whitaker could be more competitive than the races in Conetoe. Six candidates have filed for three seats. Only two of the incumbents have filed — Betty Bullock and Doris Lindsey. Other candidates that filed are, Al Wright, Fran Lynch, Nancy Taylor and Jessica Vinson. Ronald Gibson did not file for re election. Whitaker's commissioners are also elected at-large.
In Macclesfield, incumbent mayor Mike Keel will be challenged by Trey Lewis and Tamisha Patterson is challenging Lamont Wiggins for Rocky Mount Ward 3 Council