Canton election field might calm down this yearWritten by Colby Dunn
Two years after its last major shakeup, the entire Canton town board is up for election again, though this time, many aldermen are intent on keeping their seats.
In the last election, three new members swept into power from a wide field of 10 candidates, after the previous board — themselves new after replacing a slew of long-time incumbents in 2007 — were ousted.
This time, some current incumbents are pointing at their accomplishments and remaining to-do lists as reasons to stay in office.
Alderman Jimmy Flynn hasn’t yet made up his mind, but said he’s leaning heavily towards filing.
“I told everybody when I ran [in 2009] I had two main goals, one was to get the new sewer line out to Buckeye Cove and we’ve accomplished that,” said Flynn. The other was the purchase of a new fire truck, also ticked off the list. Flynn said he’d like to stay around to see the sewer project through and get to a few other things lingering on the board’s agenda.
Many other members highlight the same two goals as both their success as a board and desire to keep going.
Alderman Ed Underwood is also, as yet, not at 100 percent certainty of running again, but said he’d like to, especially given the successful collaboration of the board.
Alderman Eric Dills is one member who said he’s unlikely to seek another term for non-political reasons, and Kenneth Holland could not be reached for comment.
Some board members may face challenges, though.
Local resident Patrick Willis, who has campaigned for a seat before, said he’s intent on running again this year.
“I think the town board can be much more proactive in a few areas that I think the town can improve on,” said Willis, who is the office manager for the Thomas Wolfe Memorial in Asheville. “I think Canton has a lot of opportunities, it’s got a lot of advantages. It’s a great place to live.”
Not all those who emerged from the woodworks two years ago will make another go of it this time, however. Gene Monson, part of the groundswell of candidates last time reflecting dissatisfaction over the town’s leadership, said he won’t run again this time.
Meanwhile, Mayor Pat Smathers said he hasn’t given much thought to the idea of returning to the post. He’s not yet ruling it out either, however.
Smathers has held the job since 2000 and ran uncontested in the last election.
He’s been actively seeking a new vision for Canton in that time, though initiatives have stalled under previous boards.
But regardless of whether his name is on this year’s ballot, Smathers said he’s pleased with the progress the town has made this term.
“I think the town is doing, you know, under the circumstances, pretty well,” said Smathers. “I’m pretty optimistic about the future, whether I’m the mayor or not the mayor.”