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Municipal Election Filing Period Ends; 19 Candidates File For Office in Watauga County

By Nathan Ham

The filing period for anyone interested in running for town offices in Boone, Beech Mountain, Blowing Rock, and Seven Devils came to an end at noon on Friday with a total of 19 people hoping to be elected this November.

Starting in Blowing Rock, Mayor Charlie Sellers will run unopposed after no other candidates filed. On the Blowing Rock Town Council, incumbents Jim Steele and Albert Yount both filed to run again this year. David Harwood, who filed on July 12 and Ray Pickett who filed on July 17 will challenge them for council seats.

The Boone Town Council will have a different look next year as two incumbents, Marshall Ashcraft and Lynne Mason, chose not to seek re-election. Incumbent Loretta Clawson filed for re-election on July 5. Three others have filed to run for council seats: Virginia Roseman, who also filed on July 5, Nancy LaPlaca, who filed on July 15 and Dustin Hicks, who filed on July 17.

All three of the Beech Mountain Town Council incumbents filed for re-election. Renee Castiglione filed on July 8, Wendel Sauer filed on July 10 and Carl Marquardt file on July 17. Three other Beech Mountain citizens filed to run for the council seats. Jimmie Accardi was the first of the three to file on July 9. Kelly Melang filed to run on July 10 and Erin Gonyea filed to run on July 17.

The final municipality in Watauga County is Seven Devils. Incumbents Larry Fontaine and Kay Ehlinger filed for re-election. Fontaine turned in his paperwork on July 9 and Ehlinger made her candidacy official on July 11. Incumbent David Ehmig will not seek re-election. Wayne Bonomo, who filed on July 10, and Jeff Williams, who filed on July 18, will seek to become members of the Seven Devils Town Council.

Looking ahead to election time, Absentee by Mail voting begins on October 6. The deadline for voter registration is October 11. One-Stop Early Voting begins on October 16 and runs through November 2 at 1 p.m. The last day to request an absentee ballot by mail is October 29.

Election Day this year is November 5. Precinct polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.