By CALVIN ADKINS
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Friday's first day for filing for the 2013 municipal election have already produced what could be some interesting races. Four of the seven candidates who filed are running for the same seat.
Incumbent Candis Owens and John Jenkins filed for Tarboro's Ward 5, while Macclesfield's mayor, Mike Keel, and newcomer Trey Lewis filed for the same seat. Keel who has been mayor for at least four terms, did not have an opponent in 2009.
Jenkins served on the council for three terms before he was ousted in 2009 by Owens. In that race, Owens captured 138 votes to Jenkins' 110. In the same race for Ward 1, Gerrelene Walker defeated Buck Price and joined Owens as the first women to serve on the council.
Walker will be challenged by retired Tarboro Police officer Carl Benson.
Ward 3 incumbent Rick Page was one of the first at the Board of Elections. However, he did not file for Ward 3 seat. Page, announced a couple of weeks ago that he would seek the mayorship. The current mayor, Donald Morris, has announced that he would not seek reelection.
Princeville's mayoral race could could also gain lots of attention. First-time candidate, Milton Bullock filed for that seat. Incumbent Priscilla Everette-Oates has not said publicly whether or not she will seek re-election. Former mayor Delia Perkins also said she has not decided whether or not she would run. In 2009, five candidates ran for Princeville's mayor seat. Everette-Oates captured 294 votes. The other four candidates, combined for 294 votes. Perkins, who was the incumbent received 207.
Lamont Wiggins, a Rocky Mount councilman who represents the Edgecombe County portion of the city, also filed.
Seats that are up for election include Conetoe mayor and four commissioners, Pinetops mayor and two commissioners, Princeville mayor and two commissioners, three Whitakers commissioners, Tarboro mayor and four council members, two council members in Rocky Mount and the Macclesfield mayor and two commissioners.
Macclesfield's Keel was the first to complete the filing.
"I'm going to be out of town next week, that's why I came today," Keel said. "I wanted to be sure that I got it done. I care about my town and I want to be sure that we stay on the track that we are on. I don't want to see anyone come take over that doesn't know anything about the town."
Page had been out of town and drove back just to file.
"I think it is important to get your name out in front of everybody else," he said. "That way if anyone else is deciding to run who is capable, then maybe they will not run. I'm trying to cut down on the number of candidates who may run for the seat.
"I look forward to running and I hope all the candidates good luck."
Bullock said he decided to run because, "It's time for a change. It's time to work on putting things in place that should have already been in place. My ultimate goal is to bring the town together. Cut out the divisiveness (and) stop playing games. We need to get serious about moving the town forward. The kids need to say something proud about their community as they grow. Right now, what can they say?"
Filing will continue until noon on Friday, July 19. Edgecombe County candidates must file at the Edgecombe County Board of Elections office located on the fourth floor of the Edgecombe County Administration Building. On Friday, it took the candidates more than 30 minutes to complete the application.
"It's a little cumbersome," Page said. "I wish they would try to reduce it a little or at least allow you to do it online. Because it take some time to fill out 14 to 15 sheets of paperwork."