ELECTION: Clark, Fox, Oberkirsch will seek Council seats

Jul. 20, 2013 @ 05:02 AM

Filing for the Sanford and Broadway municipal elections ended Friday with three candidates adding their names to the ballots.

Keith Clark, a local Republican blogger, filed for the Sanford City Council At-Large seat Friday and will face fellow Republican Max Dolan in the Sept. 10 primary.

Democratic Ervin Fox filed to run against Councilman James "J.D." Williams for the Ward 3 seat, and Republican Bill Oberkirsch will challenge Councilman Samuel Gaskins for Ward 1 in the general election.

Clark said he decided to run for election because of Gaskins' push to move the city's $14.5 million bond referendums to the primary ballot.

"It's unfair to the people," Clark said. "He moved it up to (a date) when Democrats would only have a reason to be at the polls."

A Republican primary gives Republicans a reason to vote during the primary and cast their opinions on the bond referendums, which include funds for streetscape improvements for downtown Sanford and Jonesboro, recreational improvements, sidewalk enhancements and an extension of Endor Iron Furnace Greenway.

"I am running to win," Clark said. "I am running to offer a viable alternative to the council. I plan to move in a way to solve Sanford's economic problem."

Oberkirsch, a programmer-data analyst at RTI at Research Triangle Park, said he's interested in bringing common sense and logic to the city council.

"I came to Sanford due to lower taxes and cost of living," he said. "Now they want to raise taxes in a time of a bad economy. Raising taxes in a down economy only makes things worse. This kind of 'logic' needs to stop."

Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Oberkirsch served in the U.S. Army for nearly 10 years as a combat engineer and in the North Carolina National Guard. He and his wife, Elizabeth, are members of St. Thomas Episcopal Church.

Fox could not be reached for comment.

Early voting for the Sept. 10 primary begins Aug. 22 and the general election is scheduled for Nov. 5.

Sanford Municipal Election

Mayor*: Chet Mann (D) and incumbent Cornelia Olive (D)

Council Member Ward 1: Incumbent Samuel Gaskins (D) and Bill Oberkirsch (R)

Council Member Ward 3*: Ervin Fox (D) and incumbent James "J.D." Williams (D)

Council Member at Large*: Keith Clark (R), incumbent L.I. "Poly" Cohen (D), Max Dolan (R) and Chas Post (D)

* denotes races which will have a Sept. 10 primary race

Broadway Municipal Election

Three Town Commissioner Seats (4-year term): Incumbents Thomas Beal and Jim Davis, Janet Harrington and Betty Sauls.

Town Commissioner (2-year term): Incumbent Woody Beale.