6 candidates remain for Board of Alderman election, Larry Harris endorses 3

Ty Roush
Black Mountain News

BLACK MOUNTAIN - Of nine initial candidates for three Board of Alderman seats, six remain. Eight of those nine, including recent drop-outs Justyn Whitson and former mayor Mike Sobol, will be on the ballot for the Nov. 3 election.

Whitson’s decision to drop out of the race came hours before a Sept. 21 forum held by Indivisible Black Mountain. The forum, which featured candidates Doug Hay, Archie Pertiller Jr., Pam King and Matthew Turner, provided candidates time to discuss their platforms.

Tonia Holderman and Jennifer Willet, who serves alongside Pertiller as appointments to the board, did not participate.

Whitson’s decision to drop out followed a promotion at his current job. He says he hopes to return to the ballot at some point in the future.

“I’m a local guy, lived here my entire life,” Whitson said. “I want to contribute to our town to continue to be what it has been, and what it should be.”

Sobol, former Black Mountain mayor and alderman, said he wanted the future board to be represented by “new voices” and “fresh faces.”

“I think it’s time, as I said, to pass that baton on to a younger group, to new people,” Sobol said.

Despite both Sobol and Whitson’s decision to drop out of the election, both names will still be available for votes on ballots. All candidates filing for the election by the July 17 deadline will be available, regardless of any public comment.

All votes cast toward Sobol and Whitson are final and will be counted to either candidate. In the event of either winning an available seat, the next candidate with the most votes would be selected for the position.

Hay, Pertiller, King, Turner, Holderman and Willet round out the remaining candidates. Willet and Pertiller, appointed to fill seats previously held by Carlos Showers and Larry Harris, respectively, are seeking reelection.

Harris endorses 3 candidates

Harris, former alderman appointed to replace Don Collins as mayor, endorsed Holderman, Pertiller and Willet in a Sept. 21 email.

Though Harris had filed for reelection for his alderman seat, Harris will now serve as mayor until 2022 to finish Collins’ term. Unlike Sobol and Whitson, Harris will be unavailable on the November ballot.

Larry Harris

Pertiller was appointed Aug. 10 to Harris’ vacant seat, while Willet was appointed in early March to fill Showers’ seat.

Harris said all three had experience with leadership in the town.

“Pertiller has a long record of service in the community” while working for the state for 29 years and for the town’s zoning board, Harris’ statement said. In addition to working as alderman for just over a month, “Archie adds an experienced voice to the town leadership.”

Harris complimented Willet’s connection to the town, noting that “Jennifer’s dad served as our police chief, so she understands something about the front line work of our public safety servants.”

Holderman, formerly the board chair for the Black Mountain Swannanoa Chamber of Commerce, is currently the regional admissions director for the N.C. State Veteran’s Home. Harris said her community service and connection to the town “will help her serve Black Mountain as a well as a member of our town board.”