The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

October 25, 2013

Ribustello drops out of Ward 3 race


TARBORO — Stephen Ribustello recently dropped out of the three-candidate race for Ward 3 Tarboro Town Council seat due to potential conflict with the town concerning a craft brewery that he plans to open. Leshaun Jenkins and Steve Burnette will now vie for the seat alone. Neither have run for public office before.

Ribustello's name is still on the ballot for Ward 3. The entrepreneur said he attempted to remove his name from the ballet.

Another reason Ribustello said he dropped out of the race was because "I am satisfied with the candidates that are running. Both candidates have good interest of the town in mind.

In a letter sent to The Daily Southerner, Ribustello asked voters to consider him dropping out of the race when casting their votes. He also wished, "good luck to the other candidates."

Ribustello and his wife Inez has mapped out plans to open a craft brewery in the old Sullivan Building on Main Street in Tarboro. When completed, the new business should bring life to an historic building that has been vacant for many years. Plans for the new establishment are still under way. Some of the plans may require approval from the town council.

If Ribustello had remained in the race and then elected, he could not vote on issues concerning his business because it would be considered a conflict of interest. The Ribustellos are also the owners of On The Square restaurant.

The Ward 3 council seat is currently being held by Rick Page. Page did not run for the seat but instead is seeking the mayor's seat. Donnie Hale and John Wooten are also running for the mayor's seat.

Early voting is already underway. As of 1 p.m. Thursday 424 voters had cast ballots, according to a spokeswoman at the Edgecombe County Board of Elections office. Early voting ends Nov. 2. The election date is Nov. 5. Tarboro, Princeville and Pinetops are the only municipalities that are involved in the early election process. Board of Election Director Jerry Spruell said the majority of the voters are from Tarboro and Princeville. There are not any contested races in Pinetops.