Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Municipal Election 2023: Tri-county voter guide

Municipal elections take place Tuesday, Nov. 7. (Port City Daily/File)

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — In the last two months, Port City Daily has been publishing individual candidate interviews ahead of the municipal elections taking place across the tri-county region on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

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The goal is to help inform readers on where candidates stand on issues facing the southeastern North Carolina. PCD asked all candidates to fill out a questionnaire regarding their top three concerns facing their respective municipality, as well as provide feedback on topics such as balancing growth and infrastructure, development and climate change impacts, traffic and for the beach towns, renourishment.

Not everyone responded, but for those who did, below are links to their Q&As. 

The voter guide is broken up by county and then municipalities. All names in blue will link to their respective questionnaire; if it’s not blue, the candidate did not respond to Port City Daily’s request. The news outlet reached out to candidates three times during election season for participation.

Port City Daily, WECT and WHQR also held candidate forums for both the City of Wilmington and Carolina and Kure beaches in October. A roundup of the forums were published, with City of Wilmington available to read here and beaches featured here; links to watch the forums are also provided in the articles. Wrightsville Beach declined to participate in the forum.

Early voting closed Saturday, Nov. 4. Ballots can be cast on Election Day, when polls open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Anyone in line at 7:30 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

Voters can check their precinct and voter registration here. To see a sample ballot for the upcoming election, fill in info here.

A photo ID — drivers license, passport, military ID — is now required to cast a ballot. Voters without an ID must fill out an exception form and list a “reasonable impediment,” such as lack of transportation, disability or illness, lack of birth certificate or other documents needed to obtain ID, before voting. More information can be found on the state board of elections website.

Port City Daily dropped the paywall on all election coverage. Candidates’ responses are printed in full and only edited for grammatical and spelling errors.


Carolina Beach Mayor

Michelle R. Alberda

Lynn Barbee (incumbent)

Tyler McDowell

Chad Kirk

Carolina Beach Council

Jay Healy (incumbent)

Debra LeCompte (incumbent)

Danny McLaughlin 

Wilmington Mayor

Bill Saffo (incumbent)

Wilmington City Council 

Neil Anderson (incumbent)

Salette Andrews

Kathryn Bruner

Marlowe Foster

David Joyner

John Lennon

Kevin Spears (incumbent)

Kure Beach Mayor

Allen Oliver 

Kure Beach Commissioners

David Heglar (incumbent)

Connie Mearkle

Tracy Mitchell

Dennis Panicali (incumbent)

Wrightsville Beach Mayor

Darryl Mills (incumbent)

Henry Temple

Wrightsville Beach Alderman

Jeff D. DeGroote

Zeke Partin 


Port City Daily only reached out to the municipalities within its immediate coverage area.

Bald Head Island Council

Jerry Maggio (incumbent)

Virginia “Ginnie” White (incumbent)

Scott Thomas

Belville Mayor

Mike Allen (incumbent)

Belville Commissioner

Charles “Chuck” Bost (incumbent)

Joe Cranford

Morgan R. Mehler (incumbent)

Brunswick Regional Water and Sewer H2GO Commissioner

Steve Hosmer (incumbent)

Barry Laub (incumbent)

Joanne Levitan

Leland Mayor

Brenda Bozeman (incumbent)

Leland Council

Bob Campbell (incumbent)

Veronica A. Carter (incumbent)

Navassa Commissioners

Jerry Merrick (incumbent) (District 1)

LaTonyia Lowe (District 2)

William (Buddy) Ballard (District 3)

Oak Island Council

Terri L. Cartner 

Bob Ciullo

Bill Craft Jr. (incumbent)

Niki Cutler

Mark J. Dolak, Jr.

Durral Gilbert

Randy Moffitt

Southport Mayor

Rich Alt

Mike Barbee

Joe Pat Hatem (incumbent)

Southport Board of Alderman 

Thomas Lombardi (incumbent) (Ward 1)

Marc Spencer (Ward 1)

John Allen (incumbent) (Ward 2)

Bonnie L. Bray (Ward 2)

Lowe Davis (incumbent)  (Ward 2)

Rebecca Azzato Kelley


Port City Daily only reached out to the municipalities within its immediate coverage area.

Burgaw Commissioner

Vernon Harrell (incumbent)

John Johnson

William E. George III (incumbent)

Michael Pearsall 

William G. Rivenbark

Rochelle Whiteside 

Surf City Mayor

Teresa Batts (incumbent)

Marc Caldwell

Surf City Council

Heather Allen

William (Buddy) Fowler (incumbent)

Alicia Hawley

Donald Helms (incumbent)

Cheryl Crane Hunter 

John Koloski (incumbent)

Trudy Solomon

Topsail Beach Mayor

Steve Smith (incumbent)

Topsail Beach Commissioners

Joe Bell (incumbent)

John Gunter (incumbent)

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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