City election filing period starts soon

By Tom Joyce -

The candidates’ filing period for the 2017 municipal election in Mount Airy begins next week, and only one of the three present office-holders whose seats are affected has declared his intentions to seek re-election.

“I’m going to file,” Commissioner Jon Cawley said Tuesday regarding the North Ward seat he has held since 2008.

Meanwhile, two others whose positions are at stake this year, Mayor David Rowe and Steve Yokeley, a South Ward commissioner, each said Tuesday they had made no decision about running again.

The candidates’ filing period begins on July 7 at noon at the Surry County Board of Elections in Dobson, and will end on July 21 at noon for the city election to be held on Nov. 7.

If three or more candidates for a single seat throw their hats into the ring, a primary will be required on Oct. 10, with the two top vote-getters from it to square off in November.

Prospective candidates for the two commissioner seats must reside in either the South or North Ward as applicable, while those filing for mayor can live anywhere in the city limits.

The filing fee for all three seats is $10.

Cawley seeks continuity

Commissioner Cawley said Tuesday that he wants to run for another four-year term to help ongoing city projects reach fruition.

Atop his list is the redevelopment project for the former Spencer’s Inc. textile property that the municipality bought in 2014.

Cawley also wants to remain on board to try and “control taxes” and continue efforts to sell Mount Airy’s huge water surplus to outside entities.

After being appointed to the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners in 2008 to replace Tom Bagnal, who had resigned, Cawley was unopposed in the 2009 and 2013 city elections.

Rowe, Yokeley uncertain

Mayor Rowe said Tuesday that he had not made a decision on whether to seek his first full term as the city’s chief executive, after being elected in November 2015 to fill the unexpired term of Deborah Cochran. She had resigned in March of that year after being re-elected in 2013.

“I guess the best thing I can tell you is it is under consideration,” Rowe said of a possible re-election campaign.

The incumbent said he likely will make his decision late in the filing period. “It will probably be the twenty-first of July at 11:59 (a.m.).”

Yokeley also has not made up his mind on whether to seek his third four-year term on the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners, he said Tuesday.

“I have had a lot of people tell me they would love to see me run, but I haven’t decided,” said Yokeley, who ran unopposed for his first term on the city board in 2009. He staved off a challenge from two candidates to win re-election as a South Ward commissioner in 2013.

However, Yokeley also was in another race in 2015, when he lost a bid for mayor against Rowe. He retained his commissioner seat that was not up for grabs that year.

For 2017, he has a choice of seeking re-election to his commissioner seat or running for mayor again — but will not be able to do both.

“I’m not leaning toward one or the other at all,” Yokeley said Tuesday, and as far as his filing plans in general, “I haven’t decided really one way or the other.”

Yokeley said he has enjoyed his nearly eight years on the board so far, but as the busy owner of a realty firm, is not sure he wants to sign on for another four years.

He said one deciding factor will be the citizen input he receives over the next couple of weeks.

No one else has come forward with election plans for any of the three offices involved in this year’s election.

In 2015, a total of 12 people — including two write-in candidates — vied for three city commissioner seats affected then along with that of the mayor.

Cawley to run; Rowe, Yokely undecided

By Tom Joyce

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

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