05/06/12 — City vote can be confusing

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City vote can be confusing

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on May 6, 2012 1:50 AM

Due to redistricting and a difference in the city of Goldsboro's charter from most other municipalities, the city will hold a separate election during which the two pairs of candidates who capture the most votes Tuesday will vie for two offices -- mayor and the District 4 Goldsboro City Council seat.

One of the competitors from each race will be eliminated in the May 8 primary, leaving two to challenge for the respective seats during an election to be held either June 26 or July 17.

The date for the election isn't yet known due to a new federal law that dictates ballots must be available to military and citizens overseas at least 60 days ahead of any federal election.

In the mayoral race, incumbent Al King is seeking his third four-year term as mayor. King was appointed by the City Council in 2002 to serve the remainder of Mayor Hal Plonk's term after Plonk's death.

King will be taking on perennial contender D.A. Stuart, whose campaign has sought to distinguish himself as the candidate who will focus the city's efforts in areas other than downtown and remove the Phase 11 area from the city's jurisdiction. The deannexation, however, has become almost chiefly a matter discussed officially within the General Assembly, not at the city level.

A third challenger, Henry Jinnette, is a Goldsboro native who, along with Stuart, opposes the Center Street Streetscape project. Jinnette said he wants to see more transparency in the city's money dealings.

The race for the city's District 4 seat pits a long-time incumbent against two challengers new to the city political scene as well, although King's decade of office pales in comparison to the duration of Rev. Charles Williams' political career. Williams originally won the District 4 seat in 1995 and has won re-election each of the four times his seat has been up for grabs.

This year he takes on a pair of contenders with backgrounds in education in Starr Whitmore and Tondalayo Clark. During a forum in April, Ms. Whitmore and Ms. Clark spoke with fervor of their plans to re-energize young people in District 4, especially disenfranchised youth.

Any candidates in the races for any of the 13 U.S. Congressional District primaries in North Carolina could request second primaries, pushing those races up 10 weeks to July 17. The Goldsboro election would be held then.

If no candidates request primaries, citizens will elect their new leaders June 26.

The earliest the election date can be known for sure is May 16 -- the first of two days after the official canvass during which candidates can request a secondary primary.