City filings may feature last-minute surprises

By Tom Joyce - [email protected]

DOBSON — Time is running out for candidates to file for the 2015 municipal election in Mount Airy, but some major developments could be in store based on tradition and recent rumors.

“Normally, we will get at least one or two to file on that last day — we always have,” Surry County Board of Elections Director Susan Jarrell said Wednesday.

The present candidates’ filing period ends Friday at noon at the elections office in Dobson. So far, three incumbent members of the five-member Mount Airy Board of Commissioners have tossed their hats into the ring for re-election bids, along with a fourth whose seat isn’t affected but who is running for the unexpired term of former Mayor Deborah Cochran.

Two people have filed so far to challenge existing board members.

However, reports circulating around Mount Airy in recent days indicate that some heavy-hitters could be entering the race in the late stages of the filing period.

They include a retired local dentist said to be weighing a mayoral candidacy, and a former member of the Mount Airy Board of Education who might be filing as a commissioner candidate.

Yet what actually transpires by Friday at noon is anyone’s guess.

“I have no clue,” Jarrell said.

One notable example of a late entry came in 2009 when Cochran, then a Mount Airy commissioner, filed for mayor on the last day and went on to be elected to the city’s highest office.

The slate of candidates so far includes:

• Steve Yokeley, a South Ward commissioner who is seeking to become mayor on a regular basis after serving as acting mayor since Cochran’s resignation on March 31. Yokeley’s commissioner term does not expire until 2017.

• Commissioner Dean Brown, who is seeking his third term representing the North Ward and facing one challenger thus far: Bruce Springthorpe, a candidate for the city’s at-large commissioner seat in 2011.

• At-Large Commissioner Jim Armbrister, who is running for his first four-term term after replacing Scott Graham, who died in office in early 2014. So far, Gene Clark, a 2009 mayoral candidate, has filed to run against Armbrister.

• First-term South Ward Commissioner Shirley Brinkley, who had attracted no opposition as of Wednesday afternoon.

The filing fee for the commissioner and mayor’s positions is $10.

The Surry County Board of Elections is on the lower level of the new county courthouse in Dobson.

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.

By Tom Joyce

[email protected]

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