3 file for Ellerbe council seats

By: By William R. Toler - wtoler@civitasmedia.com

By William R. Toler



ROCKINGHAM — The first week of filing for the upcoming municipal elections ends with five people signing up on Friday to run in three Richmond County towns.

Jeremy McKenzie, Lee Freeman and Elsie Freeman all threw their hats in the ring for one of the two seats up for grabs on the Ellerbe Town Council. One seat is currently occupied by John Sears Jr., the other is vacant. Mayor Lee Berry filed to keep his position earlier this week.

Councilwoman Tonia S. Collins also filed to reclaim her seat on the Norman council. On Thursday, Cynthia Watkins — formerly Cynthia Ingram — filed to keep her seat.

With two seats on the Dobbins Heights Town Council up for re-election, Eddie McRae became the second person to show interest. Barbara Young filed for one of the two seats now held by Gracie Jackson and Mary Ann Gibson. Mayor Antonio Blue is also running again.

Every municipal mayor in the county is also up for re-election this fall. So far Blue, Berry, Steve Morris in Rockingham and Bill Bayless in Hamlet will be on the ballot. Norman Mayor Kenneth Broadway and Hoffman Mayor Tommy Hart have yet to file.

In fact, no one in Hoffman has entered the race, despite every seat on the council — and the mayorship — being up for grabs.

Thursday, Wendy Massagee filed for a spot on Hamlet’s board, joining David H. Lindsey and current councilman Johnathan Buie. There are three seats on that council to be filled, held by Buie, Tony Clewis and Pat Preslar.

Clewis told the Daily Journal on Thursday that he has not yet made a decision on whether to run. Preslar announced in late May that he would not be seeking re-election and was later named interim police chief in Mount Gilead.

In addition to the mayor, all current council members up for re-election — Anne M. Edwards, Denise Sullivan, Bennett Deane and John Hutchinson — have filed this week.

Filing continues at the Richmond County Board of Elections at 8 a.m. Monday and runs through noon Friday.

Reach reporter William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 and follow him on Twitter @William_r_Toler.