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Election season heats up

Less than three weeks remain for candidate hopefuls to collect and turn in signatures to be listed on the November ballot for local seats.

As the window of opportunity narrows, the field appears to be crowded in some races and sparse in others.

Mayor Linda T. Johnson has filed for re-election, and she has one competitor who is verified so far: Charles Lee Scott Sr., a Nansemond Parkway resident.

However, Registrar Susan Saunders said three other hopeful mayoral candidates have turned in signatures: Brian Bass, Kerry Holmes and Geral Staten.

Her office is in the process of verifying their signatures, Saunders said.

Mayoral candidates must gather a total of 500 signatures from registered voters throughout the city, Saunders said. The total must include at least 50 from each of the seven boroughs.

For the remainder of City Council, Nansemond Borough representative Lue Ward Jr. and Sleepy Hole Borough representative Roger W. Fawcett have filed to run again.

Fawcett will have at least one opponent, whose signatures have been verified: Raymond D. Batton III, who contested the open seat with Fawcett four years ago.

No candidate has been verified for the Whaleyville Borough on City Council or for any of the three boroughs on School Board.

Borough-level candidates need gather only 125 signatures from their borough, Saunders said.

Despite the short time frame, Saunders expects to see more names on the ballot come November.

“We’re starting to see an increase in interest,” she said. “We’ve had people come up and inquire, which is good.”

She said candidates can submit signatures until 7 p.m. June 14. Staff are able to verify them after that, but no more signatures can be turned in after that.

Saunders suggested prospective candidates turn in signatures early. Her staff are willing to verify as candidates collect and notify them how many more they need, she said.