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Durham Committee endorses Hughes, Clement in City Council primary

Staff writer Jim Wise called it (in a column he wrote last night for tomorrow's Durham News). The Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People has endorsed Donald Hughes and incumbent Howard Clement in the Oct. 6 primary for Durham City Council.

Hughes, the son of former City Councilwoman Jackie Wagstaff, won the endorsement over incumbent Cora Cole-McFadden. (Cole-McFadden has the endorsements of the People's Alliance and the Friends of Durham.)

"In a very, very, extremely close race," Durham Committee Chairwoman Lavonia Allison said, Clement won the endorsement over Sylvester Williams. (Clement has been endorsed by the People's Alliance and the Friends of Durham.)

Look for Jim's take on the political season so far in tomorrow's Durham News. 

Friends of Durham endorse Cole-McFadden and Clement in City Council primary

The Friends of Durham, one of the city's three main political action groups, has endorsed incumbents Cora Cole-McFadden (Ward 1) and Howard Clement (Ward 2) in the Oct. 6 muncipal primary.

The group did not make endorsements for mayor or in Ward 3, where only two candidate are running.

"It gets down to experience," said David Smith, chairman of the Friends. "We're in tough times right now. We thought experience was important."

Three candidates are running in Ward 1: McFadden, Donald Hughes and John Tarantino. Smith said the Friends 50-member steering committee was impressed by Hughes, but felt he was too young and needed experience serving on city boards. 

Five candidates are running in Ward 2: Clement, Mike Drew, Sylvester Williams, Sandra Howell and Darius Little.

Little has called Clement too old, and Smith said the veteran council member is "showing his age a little bit." But "the other four didn't impress us much," he said. Clement also serves on the Crime Cabinet, he noted. The Friends stand for better schools, lower crime, lower taxes and better race relations, he said.  


Candidate Little on the Web

City Council candidate Darius M. Little has launched his campaign Web site,

The site describes his experience, goals and platform — the last concentrated on public safety and economic development.

Among goals, he has:

"Creating a 'family atmosphere' in Durham, by working to include all people in our Democracy, by allowing them to see their concerns being seriously addressed, at the decision-making table."

Hughes makes it official, says "It's now our time"

Donald Hughes filed for election to the City Council's Ward 1 seat this morning, accompanied by about 20 supporters who included his mother, former council and school board member Jackie Wagstaff, and county commisssioner Joe Bowser.

"Win, lose or draw, may the campaign bring you joy," elections director Mike Ashe said when Hughes had signed the requisite papers and paid his $188.35 filing fee (below).

Hughes is challenging incumbent Cora Cole-McFadden, who defeated Wagstaff's council re-election bid in 2001.

"I'm focusing on my own campaign," Cole-McFadden said, speaking by telephone from New York, where she is attending the NAACP convention.

Before going to the Board of Elections to file, Hughes opened his campaign with a rally on Alston Avenue, across from Eastway Elementary School (above).

"This election is about inspiring Durham," he said, recalling his own inspiration as an Eastway pupil when a then-council member Cynthia Brown spoke to his class about community participation.

A May graduate of UNC Greensboro, Hughes said his campaign will take full advantage of technologies such as Facebook and Twitter with which he and his contemporaries have grown up.

"It is now our time," he said.

Hughes to challenge Cole-McFadden

Political newcomer Donald Hughes takes the plunge into Durham's city election tomorrow, with a 10:30 a.m. rally on Alston Avenue.

"It's just been in me for as long as I can remember," Hughes told Bull's Eye this afternoon.

Hughes is challenging two-term incumbent Cora Cole-McFadden for the Ward 1 City Council seat.

"I really want to see Durham come together and move for action," he said.

Speculation around town has put Hughes into the city council field for months. A 2005 graduate of Hillside High School and 2009 graduate of UNC-Greensboro, he has made his opinions known at several city council and county commissioners' meetings this year.

"Being a native of Durham and growing up in the community ... I saw the importance of standing up for what you believe," he said.

Hughes is the son of former city councilwoman and former Durham Public Schools board member Jackie Wagstaff, Cole-McFadden defeated Wagstaff's bid for re-election to the council in 2001.

"My mother stressed the importance of giving back to my community at an early age," Hughes said.

Williams files to run against Bell ... again

Steven Williams filed to run against Mayor Bill Bell today. If the name sounds familiar, it's because Williams filed to run against Bell four years ago.

His name was taken off the ballot before the October primary because elections officials determined  the home Williams bought that June at 216 Stallings Road was just outside the Durham city limits. His filing lists his current address as 701 W. Trinity Ave #112.

Williams was one of four people who filed to challenge Mayor Bill Bell in 2005.

On his Web site Williams says his mission is to "restore the City of Durham’s belief of community, FIRST. To empower
citizens with the ability to support their families by creating small
businesses, fostering togetherness, and creating an environment where
education is not an option."

Cole-McFadden on the ballot

Mayor Pro Tem Cora Cole-McFadden filed for re-election to her City Council Ward 1 seat this afternoon, giving each office on this fall's municipal ballot at least one official candidate.

Cole-McFadden, who lives in the Old Farm neighborhood of northern Durham, was elected to the council in 2001 and re-elected in 2005.

Clement gets second challenge

Long-serving city councilman Howard Clement got a second challenger Wednesday when Sylvester Williams, pastor at the Assembly at Durham Christian Center and a vocal opponent of the East End Connector highway project, filed for the Ward 2 seat in this fall's city election.

Williams joins Libertarian Pary county chairman Matt Drew in opposing Clement, who has served on the city council since 1983.

As of Thursday morning, Ward 3 council member Mike Woodard and Mayor Bill Bell had no opposition for re-election, and no one had filed for the Ward 1 seat currently held by Mayor Pro Tem Cora Cole McFadden.

Clement, Drew, Woodard open filing season

Incumbent City Council members Howard Clement and Mike Woodard, and challenger Matt Drew, made themselves official candidates in the first hour of filing for Durham city election this morning.

Drew, chairman of the Durham County Libertarian Party but a first-time candidate for office in Durham, is running against Clement for the Ward 2 seat representing southern Durham. Clement, longest-serving council member in Durham history, has held a council seat since 1983.

Woodard has held the Ward 3 seat, representing western and part of northern Durham, since 2005.

The seat for Ward 1, central and most of northern Durham, and the mayor's chair, are also up for election this fall. Incumbents Cora Cole-McFadden and Bill Bell, respectively, have said they plan to stand for re-election.

Ward council members must reside in the areas they represent, but are voted on at-large.

If more than two candidates file for any one seat, there will be a primary election Oct. 6. The top two vote-getters then face each other in the general election Nov. 3.

Filing for the election remains open until noon July 17.

Another hat aims for city council ring

Durham's Libertarians will have a presence in this fall's municipal election. Matt Drew, Durham County party chairman, told the News & Observer Tuesday that he plans to file for the city council's Ward 2 seat.

Drew would be running against incumbent Howard Clement, the longest-serving city councilman in Durham's history. Clement has held a seat since 1983.

With Drew's filing, Libertarians would carry on a growing presence in Durham politics. In 2008, three party members challenged Democratic incumbents (unsuccessfully) for the state legislature; Republicans fielded only one candidate.

Municipal elections in Durham are non-partisan. Filing opens at 8:30 Monday for mayor and three ward seats on the city council. Those are the city's only contests for public office this year.

For more on Durham's 2009 election, see Saturday's Durham News.

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