Saffo, most area mayor candidates unopposed as municipal filing ends


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.

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"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.