Filing deadline elapses for Town Council, School Board candidates

Published 5:06 pm Friday, June 24, 2022

Five candidates are seeking four available seats on Smithfield’s Town Council.

According to the Isle of Wight County Registrar’s Office, incumbents Valerie Butler, Wayne Hall and Carter Williams each filed paperwork by the June 21 deadline to get their names on the November ballot — as did challengers Jeff Brooks and Steve Bowman.

Former Farmers Market Manager Teresa Frantz also filed a nominating petition, but came up 13 signatures short of the 125 verified town voters she needed to qualify.

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Williams currently serves as the town’s mayor, a role he’s held since 2012. In Smithfield, the four candidates who receive the highest number of votes will be the winners of the four available seats, with the mayor then elected via a majority vote of all sitting council members.

Windsor’s Town Council has three seats up for election, plus a separate mayoral race.

George Stubbs, who holds one of the three available seats, is running unopposed for mayor in lieu of seeking reelection to his current role.

Councilwoman Kelly Blankenship will step down at the end of her term in December, leaving Councilman Randy Carr as the sole incumbent seeking reelection. Carr faces three challengers — David Adams, Edward Dowdy and Marlin Sharp. In Windsor, like Smithfield, the three candidates with the highest number of votes will claim the three available seats.

Windsor- and Carrollton-area residents will also be voting this November in a special election to fill two School Board seats – both of which are now contested.

Renee Dial, who was appointed as Vicky Hulick’s interim replacement in 2021 to the School Board’s District 2 (formerly Newport District) seat will face off against challenger John “Mark” Wooster.

In the former Windsor District, now known as District 4, incumbent Michael Vines will face Jason Maresh in what is likely to be a contentious race.

Vines, who was appointed as Julia Perkins’ interim replacement in 2021 when the retired teacher resigned midterm, has withstood two attempts by Windsor resident Lewis Edmonds this year to have him recalled from his seat ahead of the election. Maresh, meanwhile, has frequently used the public comment period at School Board meetings to speak against Isle of Wight County Schools’ equity and inclusion efforts — particularly Smithfield High School’s “Read Woke” challenge.

The challenge encourages students to read social justice-themed books available at the school’s library. Maresh was one of five county residents to sign a letter to retiring Superintendent Dr. Jim Thornton last year, which argues the books “disparage white people as privileged, inherently racist, oppressors and victimizers.”

Surry Mayor Bennie Savedge, who made history in 2020 by becoming the town’s first African American to hold the office, is running unopposed for reelection according to Surry County’s Voter Registrar’s Office. Incumbents Jason Wiedel, Brian Agor, Robert Berryman and Joe Garcia are also vying for five available seats against challengers Milton Berryman and Harold Jones.

In the town of Dendron, Wallace Faison Jr. is running unopposed for a new term as mayor. Town Council incumbents Robert Weidner, Willie Richardson Jr., Adam Chub Jr. and Edward Joyner are also seeking reelection with six seats available, leaving two free for write-in votes.

In the town of Claremont, George Edwards is running unopposed for reelection as mayor. Town Council incumbents Sue Gilbert, Rodney “Dale” Perkinson Jr. and Phillip Yerby IV are also seeking new terms, as is former mayor Louise Hansch and former council member Terrie Foster, for five available seats.

Jason Fuss has also filed to appear on the ballot for the Carsley District seat on Surry County’s Board of Supervisors.

The Carsley District race, which will be a special election, was prompted by former Supervisor Ronald Howell Jr.’s abrupt resignation from the board in April, only a few months into his first elected term. According to the Surry County Registrar’s Office, candidates for the seat have until Aug. 19 to file their paperwork to get their names on the ballot.