UPDATE: Councilman Bill Bestpitch added – running as Independent.
In a surprise announcement today Democratic incumbent council member Ray Ferris says he will drop the Democratic Party label and run for city council in May as an Independent.
Councilman Bill Bestpitch did not file as a Democrat by the today’s 5:00 p.m. deadline either. (See his comment below).
Incumbent Democrat David Trinkle filed to run as a Democrat for a third term.
Linda Wyatt filed today as a Democrat along with Freeda Cathcart. Wyatt held a seat on city council for 10 years until 2004 when both she and Bill Bestpitch lost their seats during the Victory Stadium debate. Sherman Lea, Sr. and Brian Wishneff who advocated renovating Victory Stadium took their seats.
The citywide primary would have cost city taxpayers over $30,000. In the 2010 primary the only incumbent David Trinkle asked for a citywide state run primary where less than 3% of the registered voters cast a ballot (about $10 a vote).
Deirdre Martin, Deputy Registrar irritatingly asked at a Roanoke City Democratic Committee meeting that all candidates promise to not ask for another costly citywide state run primary. All primary candidates promised they would not (Bestpitch, Ferris, incumbent Trinkle and myself).
As candidates for the Democratic primary for Onzlee Ware’s House of Delegates seat were announcing their intention to run Wyatt in a phone call mulled over running for the 11th HOD seat. When asked if she would consider running for Roanoke city council she said she had had enough of serving on city council. Wyatt has evidently changed her mind.
As an anonymous Roanoke City Democratic Committee member lamented “something doesn’t smell right.” The member also wondered why Ferris along with Bestpitch and Trinkle agreed to a citywide primary instead of the no-cost Firehouse primary. The Roanoke City Democratic Committee bylaws allow the Democratic incumbents to call the shots as to how they want the primary to be conducted.
Today, December 19 at 5:00 p.m. was the last day to file to run as a Democrat. Independents have until March 4 to file for the May 6 general election.
There will be no March 4 Democratic primary as the only Democrats who filed were Freeda Cathcart, Linda Wyatt and incumbent David Trinkle.
Freeda Cathcart in a statement said:
“I look forward to running on the democratic slate with Linda Wyatt and David Trinkle for the May 6 general election. We share the same values. We want great schools with the best teachers for our kids, good-paying jobs for our families and safe neighborhoods to live in.”
Ray Ferris statement:
Today, I formally announce my intention to run for a second term on Roanoke City Council. I have been grateful for the support of the Roanoke Democratic Party and appreciate what we have accomplished together in the past four years. So that I may continue to focus on ideas that move Roanoke forward, I have decided to run as an independent in the upcoming May general election.
I have chosen to run as an independent because I want to be judged by my record, not a party label. I am proud of the progress we have made for our city. I have listened to the community and concluded that the party politics that divide our capitol have no role in local government, and I want to continue our tradition of working together to improve our city. Roanoke is moving in the right direction, and we will continue to make great strides to support our schools, balance our budget, and invest in our neighborhoods.
Next May, I will stand on my record and ask voters for a second term on Roanoke City Council. I will be honored to earn your vote on May 6.