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Qualifying ends with few challengers to incumbents

This year’s elections in Pembroke and Richmond Hill will have few contested races.

With the weeklong qualifying period concluded, four of Pembroke’s five City Council members will run unopposed for re-election — Ernest Hamilton, Johnnie Miller, Diane Moore and Tiffany Walraven.

Kimberly McGhee is the lone council incumbent with an opponent for the Nov. 3 election. McGhee and Karen Lynn both qualified last week to run in District 2.

However, Pembroke Mayor Mary Warnell will be challenged in her bid for a second term — by her predecessor. Judy Cook, who did not run in 2011 after 12 years as mayor, has decided to seek the office again.

The two Richmond Hill City Council incumbents up for re-election will run unopposed. No one filed to challenge John Fesperman for the Post 3 seat or Jan Bass for Post 4.

“The fact that John and Jan are running unopposed speaks volumes about the confidence the voters have in them,” Mayor Harold Fowler said. “I look forward to continuing to work with them for the citizens of Richmond Hill.”

Richmond Hill voters will have to decide one item on the Nov. 3 ballot — a referendum on whether to allow retailers in the city to sell alcohol on Sundays.

Warnell and Cook each are touting their experience as mayor. Cook served three terms in office prior to Warnell running unopposed in 2011.

In a statement announcing her re-election bid, Warnell said she is “dedicated to continuing to make Pembroke a safe community” and a good place to live, work, raise a family and enjoy small-town life.

“I feel I have demonstrated the skills needed to lead the council and employees as we worked toward improving programs and services throughout Pembroke,” Warnell said. “During the past four years, the city has become a more effectively and efficiently run government. Improved infrastructure, more jobs and soon-to-be new housing lead the list of successes we have attained.”

Meanwhile, Cook pointed to community partnerships during her tenure that made possible such projects as the downtown memorial park, community clothing bank, Tommy McCormick Play Park and Northside Cemetery renovation. She also referenced Pembroke’s $5 million wastewater treatment plant, which was funded approximately 70 percent by grant money, as well as efforts paid with Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax revenue, including the City Hall renovation and construction of the J. Dixie Harn Community Center and city maintenance barn.

“I just love helping people and being involved,” Cook said. “I love my town.”

Anyone who is not registered to vote has until Oct. 5 to do so in order to vote in the Nov. 3 election.


Qualifiers for the Nov. 3 elections in Pembroke and Richmond Hill:


Mayor – Mary Warnell (incumbent), Judy Cook

City Council At-Large – Ernest Hamilton (I)

Council District 1 – Johnnie Miller (I)

Council District 2 – Kimberly McGhee (I), Karen Lynn

Council District 3 – Diane Moore (I)

Council District 4 – Tiffany Walraven (I)


Richmond Hill

Council Post 3 – John Fesperman (I)

Council Post 4 – Jan Bass (I)


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