Saffo, most area mayor candidates unopposed as municipal filing ends

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Submitted: Fri, 07/19/2013 - 8:49pm
Updated: Thu, 10/24/2013 - 12:47pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo drew a lot of criticism for standing out in front of the city's efforts to build a publicly-funded baseball stadium last year. It led many critics to make statements that they would remember come the next election. It looks like it won't matter.

When filing for municipal elections ended today at noon, Saffo's was the only name on the list to run for mayor. The Wilmington native and UNCW grad was among the first to sign up for November's election when filing period began July 5. Saffo is seeking his fourth full term in office. Council appointed him to the position in 2006 when Spence Broadhurst resigned.

"I've been in elected races where I've had 17 to 20 people run, and I've seen mayoral races with three people running at a time. I guess it just depends on the time and how people perceive us to be doing," Saffo said. "At least from our perspective they seem to think that we're doing a pretty good job."

Saffo is not the only mayoral candidate running unopposed. Kure Beach incumbent Dean Lambeth won't face opposition for another term. Former Wrightsville Beach Alderman Bill Blair will become the town's next mayor after November's election.

"I don't have to spend a whole lot of money now," Lambeth said. "That's mighty nice."

In Brunswick County, nine of 13 mayoral races have just one candidate. Of the four contested races, only Oak Island, with four hopefuls, has more than two choices.

"I didn't hear any rumors of anybody saying they were going to run or anything, but that's something you just never know until that time comes," said Leland Mayor Brenda Bozeman, who faces no opponent as she seeks a second term.

In Pender County, no one filed to run for mayor in Atkinson. Meanwhile the towns of St. Helena and Watha have uncontested races. Burgaw Mayor Pete Cowan, though, faces a challenge from Eugene Mulligan.

Bolton and Fair Bluff are the only towns in Columbus County that have contested mayoral races this fall. The other five towns where the mayor is on the ballot are unopposed.

Three candidates are vying for the mayor's office in Bladenboro, but both of Bladen County's other mayoral elections are uncontested.

Races for mayor are not the only ones having trouble drawing candidates. There are several uncontested races for town councils.

The Bladen County Board of Elections has extended the deadline for Tar Heel Commissioner a week after only two candidates filed for three open seats. You may remember that two years ago no one from Tar Heel signed up to run for mayor or council.


  • ChefnSurf says:

    Helloooo ? ….. Local Republi-Morons ….. Anybody home?

    You’ve had several years to come up with a candidate, any candidate, and yet you have NO ONE? You’re kidding me, right? As a collective group, if you had half a brain you’d be twins.

    It’s so obvious that your “leaders” aren’t leading you that normally it would be insulting just to say something so obvious. In this case, you’re all so brain dead the insult wouldn’t even be noticed.

    Why don’t you just disband and stop wasting your time? The only possible reason I can think of for you all meeting from time to time is that you like going out for a few cocktails at some local bar after the meetings. You’d all look a lot smarter if you skipped the meetings and just went to the bar.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    the articles on Detroit’s fall into bankruptcy will be required reading for the Mayor and all members of the City Council.

    It might not take too many follies such as the Convention Center, proposed convention center hotel, WDI support, Wilmington Film Commission support, and the baseball park travesty to put Wilmington in similar straits.

  • Guest Reply Redux says:

    This is now Old News now…now that the Royal baby got borned!

  • Josh Fulton says:

    I am astonished by this. I spent so much time trying to help the city by running for city council then with the whole baseball stadium initiative. Unfortunately, I learned during the stadium initiative in particular that people just don’t care. You literally have to put something in people’s hands just so they can save themselves hundreds of dollars. Now there are only three non-incumbents running in the Wilmington city council election? At this time when the incumbents should be at their weakest? You have to be kidding.

    So long, Wilmington. In about 8 years or so, you’re going to declare bankruptcy and things will be get a whole lot worse before they get better. Don’t say I didn’t tell you it was happening, and exactly where the ticking time bombs were. :( Farewell from Brunswick!

  • Guest Reply Redux says:

    “In about 8 years or so, you’re going to declare bankruptcy and things will be get a whole lot worse before they get better.” (Unquote)

    Josh…(IMO) I give Wilmington less time than 8 years before the tumbleweeds roll on through the streets alongside all the shootings…and let me tell you why :-)

    Citizens here are more concerned with their “worries” of…how to make their next payment on housing taxation + mortgage/bad roads/an understaffed Police Force/etc…and all with a crumbled infrastructure…they simply don’t realize where it has all come from. The answer is “3rd Street City Hall”. Has a ring to it huh?

    The “No Property Tax Increase” ploy of last month, was no more than a forfeit of “1 Year” of property taxation…to campaign himself back into the race. Next year’s taxation will be a doozy…and the citizens here can count on that. The taxpayers have Saffo right where Saffo wants himself to be…in charge. (AGAIN???) Let’s Reflect:

    The Mayor and City Council here are so far ahead of themselves on how to make things happen (ever so quickly) to make this a 5 Star Studded City”…they never took the time to ask themselves…if they should. Their major investments from a (i.e.) {Convention Center that sits…a hotel that can’t be built next to it…they went South. What they do have in reality is a “let go” bulkhead on the riverfront/increasingly high crime rates/shootings/murders/a sewer system in danger of failure/a traffic routing disaster/blah-blah-blah}…these are issues that come with the job of city management…not to be ignored and hoped that they will just go away…but-but-but…they won’t, because your concerns are on “Toys” to make Wilmington another Myrtle Beach. It will never happen.

    Of Recent events: I’ve not read a single quote from Saffo on the recent shooting issues that have plagued certain areas of this city. Maybe that’s because when this happens downtown, and he lives in Landfall…hey…what the hell huh?

    As for this man remaining at the helm of this city by the Cape Fear…I like to use a title from a story I read as a child for comparison every now and again called …”The Emperor’s New Clothes”…or…”Mythology of a Leader”…you all pick one.
    Wilmington and her continued leaders have just created a new chapter for that story…and it ain’t pretty.

    Fortunately my wife and I are relocating out West fairly soon, where the scenery is beautiful…there is very little humidity…there are no hurricanes or tropical threats…and last but not least…no Saffo!!

    So…to sum up a whole lot of blabberin’ nuthin’ on my behalf (but it’s just how I feel because I’ve paid my dues for 28 fricken years here):
    Saffo…you will be recrowned this Fall “once again”…for another fun filled exciting term of “Have it your way”. So I suppose “Congratulations” are in order (from friends and family I suppose)???
    Just remember…when you have botched things up so badly that retirees won’t even come here any more (people do spread the news)…and the Real Estate parodies you have in mind falter…then what will you do…serve another term again? Probably…because it’s history repeating itself.
    As for me…I won’t give a rat’s arse! :-)


  • Vog46 says:

    Please refresh my memory.
    I believe the Convention center was one ticking time bomb
    What are the others?


  • GuestJohn says:

    I guess the local Republican Party has just died on the vine. Hard to believe they didn’t recruit a good candidate to run against tax and spend Saffo. Who’s running the Republican Party in this town anyway? They obviously need some new leadership.

  • Josh Fulton says:

    Another one is there are $50M+ in unfunded liabilities in the “other post-employment benefits” program. This is up from $30M+ just two years ago.

    The program is basically continued health benefits for retired employees who aren’t yet of age for Medicare. They discontinued this program a few years ago because it was so expensive, but they haven’t met their annual funding requirements for the existing enrollees. It’s about $3M, and they only fund $1M. This leads to an ever-increasing gap. It’s there in the CAFR.

    The news media does not call this stuff out. It’s in the city’s own documents. People simply don’t look into these things, and the “reporter” turnover is so high that the tiny handful who might have read a budget or CAFR are gone within six months.

    But it’s there and it’s happening. There’s an ever-increasing gap for them to fill. They’ve dug into bond money before to fill it, but it’s running out, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we started seeing them push for some bond that has money that can be used for various things like the parks and streets bond has been. So they can shift things around a bit to cover typical expenses for the city instead of the one-time expenses a bond is supposed to be used for.

    I saw one other person said we might have less than 8 years, and they might unfortunately be right. We have about $200M in debt while the annual budget is around $130M. That’s absurd. And that’s after giving away tens of millions in debt to the CFPUA!

    The whole thing is absurd and is going to crack in a few years. I’m just glad I’m not going to be a taxpayer there to see it all go down.

  • dean bailey says:

    what we can do is vote the most honest man in wilm. vote ricky meeks you will not find a better man to run this city. go ricky go write his name in.

  • Guest 1492 says:

    it would have been a good idea. However, based on all of the other crap you constantly post under this name and several others, who would take anything you say seriously?

  • GuestTim says:

    I agree with the previous comment that the New Hanover Republican Party might as well disband. When a local party doesn’t even put up candidates against terrible incumbents, what purpose does it serve? I hear that a new conservative party is being formed in Wilmington to take the place of the GOP. It can’t happen soon enough! Voters deserve a choice.

  • Guest1022 says:

    If someone had wanted to run against Saffo they would have filed. Maybe they were afraid they would lose.

  • HotDog says:

    Why wasn’t this posted at least one day sooner so someone, anyone, could have had the chance to file the paperwork, get the signatures and run against him?!?!

  • Guest Taxpayer II says:

    Please, Not another term for this guy. He showed his true colors
    over the baseball stadium debacle. I don’t trust this guy for a second.

  • guesty says:

    Write in vote for either Justin LaNasa or Ricky!

  • Guest Reply Redux says:

    How’s about…”Run Wilmington!”
    All I know is my wife now owes me 5 bux…but she took that bet knowing what makes this town tick…Corruption!
    This is the most hilarious news I’ve heard since Pat Paulsen ran for President of the USA on the Smothers Brothers Show in 1968. If you don’t know the caper…Google it!
    To think I had to create a User Name/Password just to write that paragraph. Well…it’s the last we will see of this forsaken town in the interim. For those of you that can, and have a big enough drive…there’s a whole world out there to explore. This town is all used up!

  • Vog46 says:

    The job sucks
    Pay stinks
    Takes up too much of your time
    You get snipped at constantly
    You are always PO’ing someone
    You gotta smile when you just want to punch the person next to you
    Council hates you

    And, you have to learn to lie if you don’t do so already

    That’s why !!!!!

  • Guest of the Century says:

    The job sucks
    Pay stinks
    Takes up too much of your time
    You get snipped at constantly
    You are always PO’ing someone

    Kinda like your career here at, eh?

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