No matter what happens in the Nov. 8 elections, there’s bound to be a shakeup on the Raleigh City Council.
Filing for Raleigh mayor and city council seats closed Friday. Three of the seven current council members opted not to run again, and one council member is running for a different seat.
At-large Councilor Nicole Steward, District A representative Patrick Buffkin and District B’s David Cox decided not to run for reelection. District D Councilor Stormie Forte decided this year to run for one of two at-large seats representing the entire city.
There are crowded races for the open seats in District B and District D, and seven candidates vying for the city's two at-large seats.
There are a couple of familiar faces to Raleigh politics running to get back on the council. Anne Franklin, who sat on the city council from 1987 to 1993, and John Odom, who represented District B for more than two decades, are both running for at-large seats.
Odom made his mark on the city council with his gruff, but affable style, as a stalwart representative of his northeast Raleigh district. He lost his longtime seat to David Cox in 2019.
Franklin, even after she left the city council almost 30 years ago, has long been a fixture in city politics. She helped champion turning the Dix property into the new Dix Park and is on the board of Partners for Environmental Justice, which works on environmental issues in southeast Raleigh.
Incumbent Jonathan Melton, District D's Fortie, James Bledsoe, Joshua Bradley and Portia W. Rochelle are also running for the two at-large council seats.
The top race in Raleigh puts incumbent Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin against two challengers: DaQuanta Copeland, vice chair of the Wake County Health and Human Services Board, and Terrace Ruth, a professor at N.C. State University, former Wake County school principal and past executive director of the North Carolina NAACP.
Baldwin has been a consistent figure on the Raleigh City Council, serving five terms as an at-large member before being elected mayor in 2019. Her tenure has not been without controversy as she led the city through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The mayor faced a recall push last year, criticized as having an agenda some considered too friendly to developers, and for not engaging with the community enough on decisions about the city.
The recall effort never made it to a ballot, but it did make clear divisions in Raleigh’s municipal politics. There was also the matter of Raleigh’s delayed elections.
Raleigh City Council elections were originally scheduled for last year, but council members worked behind closed doors to draft a law delaying the current term by one year.
Census results and redistricting in the city were delayed because of the pandemic, which led many cities and towns to delay elections from fall 2021 to spring 2022. But the delay became permanent in Raleigh. The General Assembly passed a law extending the current council term by a year and moving city elections to an even-year cycle for the two-year terms.
Here’s who will be on the ballot for Raleigh voters this fall:
- Mary-Ann Baldwin - incumbent
- DaQuanta Copeland
- Terrance (Truth) Ruth
- James Bledsoe
- Joshua Bradley
- Stormie Denise Forte - currently represents District D
- Anne S. Franklin
- Jonathan Melton - incumbent
- John Odom
- Portia W. Rochelle
- Mary Black-Branch
- Whitney Hill
- Catherine (Cat) Lawson
- Zainab (ZB) Baloch
- Minu Lee
- Jakob Lorberblatt
- Megan Patton
- Frank Pierce
- Corey Branch - incumbent
- Frank T. Fields III
- Wanda Hunter
- Rob Baumgart
- Jane Harrison
- Todd Kennedy
- Jennifer Truman
- Christina Jones
- David Knight - incumbent