DOBSON — Running for public office in Mount Airy this year could be compared to poker, where one player might raise the ante, or not, in response to what others do.
The bulk of the 10 candidates who have filed to run for four available seats on the city council have declared that they do not plan to raise or spend $1,000 or more during their campaigns — but this could change.
“At this time we have two Mount Airy municipal candidates who did not file under the $1,000 threshold,” was the word Tuesday from Surry County Board of Elections Director Susan Jarrell.
They are N.A. Barnes, a challenger for the North Ward seat on the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners now held by Dean Brown, its senior member, and Jerry Taylor, a candidate for the at-large seat on the five-member board which incumbent Jim Armbrister is vying to keep.
The competition for those two seats accounts for seven of the 10 candidates in the field, including three people running in the North Ward and four altogether for the at-large post. That will force a primary in each, which will be held in early October.
David Rowe, a candidate for mayor, had not filed required paperwork with the county elections board — including signing a “certificate of threshold” — as of Tuesday indicating whether his campaign funding will raise or spend $1,000 or less.
Rowe’s opponent is Steve Yokeley, a South Ward commissioner whose seat is not affected by the 2015 election, and who now is serving as mayor on an interim basis.
In the past, the Mount Airy mayor’s race has been a high-stakes proposition at times, including $19,974 spent by one unsuccessful candidate during the 2009 mayoral campaign.
Only one city office at stake this year is uncontested, the South Ward seat of first-term incumbent Shirley Brinkley, who is seeking her second four-year term.
Status can change
Yokeley is among the seven candidates so far who have indicated they would not raise or spend beyond the $1,000 level — but that is not set in stone, the county elections director said Wednesday.
“That is their intent at this moment,” Jarrell said.
The candidates are free to change their financial status “at any time during their campaign,” she explained.
“If they get near that $1,000, they would need to notify us of that.”
Candidates who designate themselves for the higher-spending status must maintain records of all contributions and the names of those making them, along with listing expenditures and the company or individual to which disbursements are made.
The latter includes promotional materials such as signs, media advertisements and other campaign needs.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.