Montgomery, Diggs first to put names on the ballot for Winston-Salem City Council

Derwin Montgomery and Brenda B. Diggs
Derwin Montgomery, a one-term councilman seeking reelection in the East Ward, and Brenda B. Diggs, a political neophyte intent on winning the Northeast Ward seat, were jockeying for bragging rights as the first candidate to complete paperwork when filing opened at noon today at the Forsyth County Board of Elections.

Montgomery, who is defending his seat against former East Ward representative Joycelyn Johnson, arrived at 11:20 a.m. He drove straight to the election office from South Carolina, where he had been visiting family for the July 4 holiday, without stopping at home. Diggs arrived about 15 minutes later with an entourage of 18 people that included family, friends, community supporters and a designated photographer to commemorate the event.

The Northwest Ward seat sought by Diggs is currently represented by Mayor Pro Tem Vivian Burke, who could not be reached today for comment about whether she intends to file.

Diggs approached Montgomery about 10 minutes before noon.

"Derwin, you've done this before," she said, "but this is a history-making moment for me."

Montgomery files with help from election worker Judy Speas
Noting Diggs' entourage, Montgomery chuckled and said, "I should have taken a page out of your book."

He gave no indication of entertaining the possibility of deferring the honor.

Jacob Wright, an election worker, broke the polite standoff by offering to get Diggs started with her paperwork at another computer terminal down the counter.

Diggs celebrates her candidacy with supporters.
The deadline for filing is July 19 at noon. Winston-Salem operates under a partisan election system. Filing also opened today for nonpartisan municipal elections in Kernersville, Clemmons, Lewisville, Bethania, Tobaccoville, Rural Hall and Walkertown. In neighboring Guilford County, filing opened for nonpartisan elections in Greensboro, Jamestown, Summerfield, Stokesdale, Oak Ridge, Pleasant Garden, Sedalia, Whitsett and Gibsonville.

By noon, Montgomery was ready to put his signature on his paperwork. Diggs finished in quick succession and convened with her family, which included two grand-nieces, in the lobby for photographs.

UPDATE: Joycelyn Johnson has for the East Ward and Councilman Robert Clark has filed for re-election in the West Ward. Clark and Montgomery said Mayor Allen Joines plans to file on Monday.

Southeast Ward Councilman James Taylor Jr., South Ward Councilwoman Molly Leight, Southwest Ward Councilman Dan Besse and North Ward Councilwoman Denise D. Adams have also said they plan to file.

Research candidates for Winston-Salem City Council at YES! Weekly's online voter guide, Triad Elections '13.

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