WILMINGTON — As of Wednesday, only three incumbent council members have taken out petitions to run again for Wilmington City Council or other city positions.
Wilmington Mayor John Stanforth has taken out a petition to run again for mayor and, so far, will face former sheriff and county commissioner Pat Haley in the Republican primary on May 2, 2023.
Stanforth told the News Journal he’s proud of what has been accomplished in the past two terms and is excited about what’s to come.
“I’ve got an outstanding staff and we’ve got more to do,” said Stanforth. “They’ve done a great job.”
Stanforth told the News Journal that some of the accomplishments he’s most proud of include selling water to Fayette County for the upcoming Honda plant, the Rombach Avenue project, and the downtown safety project.
He also cited both the city fire and police departments reaching their staffing levels, and he commended the work of the police and the courts.
He said he hopes to continue the work the code enforcement has done and help break ground on a new sewage plant.
In Haley’s campaign announcement, published in the News Journal on Dec. 14, he highlighted he would focus on crime, charity, transparency, and communication.
Four incumbent city council members have decided not to run again.
Mark McKay, the council president, confirmed with the News Journal he will not be seeking reelection.
Michael Allbright, one of three at-large members, told the News Journal he will not be running again for council.
Allbright said in a statement that his decision is due to scheduling conflicts involving obtaining a doctorate in higher education in student affairs at Ohio State University.
“I am not closing the door on being a public servant forever, but I am just unable to serve beyond 2023 at this time,” said Allbright. “I strongly encourage anyone interested in serving the city of Wilmington to pull a petition for City Council, get the required signatures, see what the citizens of this community are concerned about and formally file.”
Nick Eveland, another at-large member, also will not be running again, indicating he wants to spend more time with family and tending to his business.
“I’ve given my service to the city,” said Eveland.
Bill Liermann, the incumbent third ward council member, indicated earlier in the year he is not running again.
“I’m at a point where I’ve done my part,” Liermann told the News Journal. “With the 17 more or less years on council and my time on the school board, I think it was time to step away.”
Michael Snarr and Bob Osborn are the two incumbent city council members who have taken out petitions to run for the respective seats (2nd and 4th). Mary Kay Vance took out a petition for city auditor again.
At-large council member and council president pro tem Matt Purkey took out a petition to run for president of council. First ward council member Jonathan McKay told the News Journal he plans on running for an at-large seat.
Among the new candidates so far include Don Wells for third ward seat. Wells previously served on the council from 2004-2014.
”The reason I’m running is because … we don’t have enough people who want to run,” said Wells. “I’ve got the experience and I thought it would be a good time to run again. Our city probably needs help and we need to work together.”
Wells filed his petition on Tuesday.
Jamie Knowles is the only other local to take out a petition to run for an at-large seat.
“Honestly I’m running to help clean up Wilmington. We got issues with homeless that need addressed and we need to get these people the right kind of help,” Knowles told the News Journal. “There’s a lot of people who are upset about multiple issues in the community and instead of sitting back to complain about it, I’d rather be part of the solution.”
This is his first time running for public office.
Across the county, each village mayor position and two seats of their councils are up for election.
The deadline to register to vote for the May 3 election is April 3.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574