Write-in candidates campaigning in Districts 3 and 5
By Ty Johnson
Published in News on July 15, 2012 1:50 AM
Their names won't be on the ballots Tuesday, but at least two Goldsboro citizens are asking for write-in votes in the city's municipal election in an effort to throw a wrench into the plans of candidates who filed before the Feb. 29 deadline.
Jerome Tew, a resident in District 5, has partnered with the Wayne County Republican Party to try to unseat incumbent Chuck Allen in the nonpartisan race for Goldsboro City Council, while defeated mayoral candidate D.A. Stuart is aiming to shake things up in District 3 where two candidates are vying for the vacant seat left by Don Chatman, who declined to run for re-election.
And although write-ins often are at a disadvantage in larger races, State Board of Elections Director Gary Bartlett said the expected small turnout at Tuesday's election could give write-in candidates an edge, as municipal election turnout is typically only 2.5 to 8 percent.
"Whenever you have a low turnout, that's usually the best chance," he said.
The county's GOP is bankrolling Tew's campaign by mailing out postcards that feature a summary of Tew's life and political views authored by someone at the headquarters, but Tew said he agrees with the goals listed, which are to reduce spending, regulations and city taxes.
"I don't know who wrote that, but I concur with it 100 percent. I just see so many bad things done as far as spending everybody's money at the state, federal and local level," he said. "It's time somebody came along that knows how to say "no" and I do."
Tew, 77, also said he feels it's his turn to hold public office, although he hasn't filed since he began living in Goldsboro 29 years ago.
Tew says reducing spending to the point where the city can "live within (its) means" is his focus, but he expressed mixed feelings with the Center Street Streetscape project.
"I can't say I disapprove of (the project)," he said "I disapprove of blocking the roads off and inconveniencing people. I'm hoping the end result will be worth the inconvenience."
As far as missing the filing deadline, Tew said he didn't decide until "the last minute" that he would run and said in the future he would probably file if he were to run.
Tew, a Sampson County native who served in the Air Force, lives with his wife, Sarah.
In the District 3 race, Stuart is courting write-in votes away from William Goodman and Ben Farlow.
Stuart said he has ramped up his campaign since his mayoral defeat in the May 8 primary when he finished in third place by making phone calls and mailing out fliers.
Stuart said he's counting on a small turnout for the election, which is being held during a secondary state primary without much fanfare outside of local races.
Stuart's mayoral platform, which is available online, and throughout his write-in campaign, he has expressed concerns about Allen, the city's mayor pro tempore who holds the District 5 council seat.
When listing his concerns, Stuart said first that he wants to be sitting beside Allen in meetings to scrutinize every move, assuming, of course, Tew isn't able to unseat him.
Stuart opposes the Streetscape project downtown because he believes Allen has the most to gain from it, and insists removing or neutralizing his influence on the council is the only way for the city to move forward.
"Chuck Allen is the common denominator," he said. "Once we remove this problem we will be able to move on."
Asked if his only goal is to unseat or nullify Allen, Stuart admitted that it is a large part of his campaign, but said he is driven by others who have voiced concern about Allen.
Beyond his focus on Allen, though, Stuart's plans for the city are a bit unorthodox. He proposes that instead of tearing down dilapidated, historical homes and leaving vacant lots, he wants to see houses taken apart piece by piece with the building materials stored somewhere to be reused when other historical properties are being renovated.
He also proposes donating the lots to Habitat for Humanity.
He said he wants to cut down on consultant fees, increase city employee salaries and cut down on the crime rate through hiring more police officers. He said crime and the number of stoplights between Raleigh and Goldsboro were the two main reasons why more businesses don't relocate to Wayne County, and said while the city can do little about the stoplights, it can work to cut down on crime.
He also suggests using local contractors in the case of ties during bid processes and major city purchases -- a process he admits could already be in use.
Most of his plans, though, he said can't be implemented until he is in office, saying that as a citizen he didn't have much influence on the system and didn't have time to learn it, even explaining how he didn't know who to direct citizens to when they talked to him about problems they had with crime and traffic.
"Until you're in a position to do something it's moot to even try," he said.