|Mayor Pro Tem Vivian Burke gives election staffer Joshua Chunn a lesson on penmanship.|
The nine-term incumbent, who has represented the Northeast Ward on Winston-Salem City Council since 1977, said she hadn't decided whether to run again until just recently.
"I prayed about it," Burke said. "I had a meeting at my house last night. I had a roomful of people. They talked; I listened. I told them they would know my decision tomorrow."
Burke faces two challengers, Brenda Diggs and Jemmise Bowen, in the Democratic Party.
Other last-minute filings include James Lee Knox, a Republican filing for mayor. He said he has his wife's blessing, but not that of the Forsyth County Republican Party, which is focusing resources elsewhere. Knox was elected last year to the Forsyth County Soil and Water Board and ran unsuccessfully for the North Ward seat on city council in 1985 and 1989.
In a sign the GOP is making a play to expand its standing on city council, where seven out of eight seats are held by Democrats, the party is fielding candidates in all but one ward.
Its best shot may be the Northwest Ward, which has the second highest percentage of registered Republican voters, outside of the West Ward, which is represented by Republican Robert Clark. Lida Hayes-Calvert, a small business owner who served on the city's Citizens' Organizational Efficiency & Review Committee, and has hired a consultant who formerly worked on the staff of Congresswoman Virginia Foxx.
In the Southwest Ward, Republicans Donald T. Shaw and Robert Bultman will contend in the Republican primary for the opportunity to take on Democratic incumbent Dan Besse.
Republican Nathan Jones is challenging Democratic incumbent Molly Leight in the South Ward, while Republican Mike Hunger has filed for the Southeast Ward seat currently represented by James Taylor Jr. and Republican Patricia Kleinmaier has stepped up to meet Democratic incumbent Denise D. Adams in the North Ward.
The survivor of the Democratic primary in the Northeast Ward will face nominal competition from Michael Owens.
Intra-party competition in a couple primaries intensified over the final two days of filing.
Just before the noon deadline today, Laura Elliott, an ordained pastor with a progressive platform filed as a Democrat in the Northwest Ward. Yesterday, Noah Reynolds, a scion of the Reynolds tobacco family, filed as a Democrat. Rounding out the three-way Democratic primary is Jeff MacIntosh, a realtor whose interest in the seat was known before filing opened.
And in the Democratic primary for the East Ward, Phil Carter, an active member of the local Democratic Party, jumped in with incumbent Derwin Montgomery and longtime councilwoman Joycelyn Johnson.
Yesterday, Carolyn Highsmith, a community leader in the Konnoak Hills neighborhood who played a leadership role in a campaign to raise home values reduced in the recent tax revaluation, filed to challenge incumbent Molly Leight in the Democratic primary for the South Ward.
In the West Ward, incumbent Robert Clark has two challengers in the Republican primary: Howard Hudson and Andrew Johnson.