Three vie for Thomasville mayor

Jackson bows out of council race
Jul. 23, 2013 @ 10:19 AM

Thomasville Mayor Joe Bennett will have two familiar challengers for his sixth run for office, and the field for council will be crowded, but it will not include incumbent Jackie Jackson.

Jackson, chairwoman of the Empower House board of directors and a former councilwoman in Richmond, Va., said  it was a hard decision, but she decided to move on to serve in other ways.

“It was a personal decision not to run again,” Jackson said. “I prayed about it and thought long and hard. I ran for council to make change in Thomasville. Unfortunately, some people didn’t see my commitment to the city and the people in this city. And at some point, it was no longer about the people in our community, for some people. I have enjoyed my four years and I appreciate the citizens of Thomasville for allowing me the opportunity to serve. We have great staff who love this city as well. I am looking forward to leveraging the relationships I have built and making an impact on this community in other ways.  Thomasville is my home.”

Thomasville council seats are elected at-large every two years. Municipal Election Day is Nov. 5.

Incumbents Ronald Bratton, Neal Grimes, Joel Pierce, Pat H. Shelton, Scott Styers and Raleigh York filed for re-election.

There are six challengers in the race. Jay W. Browning, 44, and Rhonda J. Florence of Camden Woods Drive were the last challengers to file Friday. Browning, a computer programmer, last sought a council seat in 2009.

Jason Varner, 27, will make his second council run. A marketing officer for an insurance company, Varner speaks often at council meetings. Joe Leonard, a retired business owner, will be  making his first run for a council seat. Newcomer Johnny West, 50, of Pennington Avenue, is a local driver for Sun Delivery. Carl Shatley, 54, unsuccessfully ran for council four years ago. He has served as vice president of People Achieving Community Enhancement in Thomasville and also has been a faculty member at Davidson County Community College.

Bennett, 77, has been mayor of Thomasville for 10 years and served on the City Council for four years. Earl Harrison filed Friday to oppose Bennett for a third time. The third candidate is J.W. Mathis, 74, of Barnwell Street, who served as a Thomasville city councilman from 1988-1992. He chose not to serve again because he wanted to attend college. Mathis has a business administration degree from N.C. Agricultural and Technical State University.

Here is the lineup for the Denton, Midway and Wallburg elections:


Mayor Scott Morris filed for another term. Newcomer Larry Ward, a 65-year-old retired grocery store manager, filed Friday to oppose him.

Terms for all Denton commissioners are four years. Board seats held by commissioners Wayne Plaster and Deanna Chandler Grubb are up for election.

Challenger Kenny Small, a former candidate for mayor, filed Friday for the board. Myra Smith, 62, who unsuccessfully ran two years ago, works in customer service for Venosan North America in Asheboro.


The three Midway council seats of John Byrum, Robin Moon and Sue Stephens are up for election. Stephens did not seek reelection. Mayor Norman Wilkes does not face election until 2015.

Bryum and Moon filed for re-election. Challengers are newcomer Randy Lovett, 54, information technology retiree from the Forsyth County Schools. Lynn Griggs, 70, is retired from R.J. Reynolds. The Midway farmer has been on Midway’s Planning and Zoning Board since 2006. Keith Leonard, 42, is running for the first time for elected office. He works in the operations department at Ingredion in Winston-Salem.


No challengers filed against incumbents seeking re-election. Allen Todd, 60, filed for his third term as mayor.

There are two council seats up for election for four-year terms. Incumbents Steve Yokeley, 55, who has served two terms, and Zane Hedgecock, 54, of Wallburg-High Point Road, will have no Nov. 5 opposition.