local elections matter logo 2021

Local voters head to the polls Nov. 2 in races to govern Jackson County’s four municipalities.

One candidate has withdrawn. So far there have been no reports of write-in candidates, who must register to campaign, but not to be elected. Here’s a rundown of the candidates, though write-ins are still a possibility.



Luther Jones has withdrawn his candidacy for election to the Sylva Town Board.

“Because of health and family concerns, I have removed myself from this upcoming election race,” Jones said in an email to the Herald. “I still have the commitment to serve the town of Sylva and its people, but sometimes family matters must take precedence.”

The announcement comes too late to remove his name from the ballot, so it will show up on voting machines on election day and for early voting.

Jones asked media outlets to inform the public “so that possible supporters do not waste their vote by voting for a non-candidate.”

The two incumbents on the Sylva Town Board – Mary Gelbaugh and Barbara Hamilton – seek re-election.

Carrie McBane and Natalie Newman will make it a four-person race for the two available seats.

McBane ran in 2019. That election ended in a tie with current board member Ben Guiney, who took the seat after the third of a best-of-three coin toss at the Jackson County Board of Elections.

Newman ran an unsuccessful write-in candidacy in 2019. 

The seats of the other board members – Greg McPherson, David Nestler and Guiney – are up in 2023. All terms are for four years.

Sylva Mayor Lynda Sossamon has no opposition as she seeks a third term. Sossamon won election in 2015 to complete an unexpired term, then won re-election to a four-year stint in 2017.


Forest Hills

Everyone in Forest Hills runs unopposed so far. 

Incumbent Forest Hills Mayor Jim Wallace seeks another two-year term, and Ron Yount has filed for another four-year term on the council. Newcomer Daniel Shields is running for the council seat vacated by Carl Hooper, who was appointed June 24 to replace Jerry Rice, who had resigned.



Dillsboro leaders are not elected for staggered terms. Unopposed candidates for all five council members and the mayor’s seat are on the ballot. Terms last four years.

Newcomer James Cochran and incumbents David Gates, Beauford Riddle, Tim Parris and Tim Hall have filed for the Dillsboro board. Interim Mayor David Jones, who took office when three-term Mayor Mike Fitzgerald resigned, is the lone candidate for mayor. Parris was on July 12 appointed vice-mayor, a post formerly held by Jones.



In Webster, Mayor Tracy Rodes has no opposition. With three seats open on the town council only two candidates filed – incumbents Vice-Mayor Leigh Anne Young and council member Danell Moses. One seat is lacking a candidate as member Allan Grant elected not to run again.

The deadline for a candidate to file for the Webster council seat was extended one week, to Friday, July 23. 

The deadline extension ended with no additional filings, said Ryan Oliver of the Jackson County Board of Elections. Write-in votes will decide the open council seat that no one filed for.

The seats of the Webster mayor and board members are for four-year terms.