Political newcomer Chris Notaro has bowed out of the Pinehurst mayoral race for this year’s municipal election.
He was one of the first few candidates to file with the Moore County Board of Elections last Friday, but said he “jumped in too quick.”
The stay-at-home father and husband to Katie, a practicing physician in Laurinburg, Notaro described himself as a civic-minded person who is keenly interested in bringing the greater community together.
However, he said he underestimated the intricacies involved in serving as his own campaign treasurer while also seeking office, balanced against his family obligations.
“It was a tough decision. I want to get involved in the community but need to take a step back for now,” he said. “When my children get a little older, it is definitely something I want to pursue.”
Notaro said his decision to run for mayor was born out of frustration.
Together with a friend, who is based out of Charlotte, he has been trying to launch a nonprofit that would serve children in Moore County.
“The idea was to help kids and teachers. We want to close the ability gap for children going into kindergarten and elementary school levels,” he said. “But I hit roadblocks everywhere I went.”
When the municipal election filing period opened, he saw an opportunity.
“I wanted to bring my own weight to table. It was not the title of mayor that interested me, but the responsibility I wanted,” he added. “To bring the old and young, everybody together. That was my mission.”
A New Jersey native, Notaro attended UNC-Charlotte and went to work for IBM and later shifted into the retail industry.
In 2012, a close friend and former classmate from the New Milford, Conn., area lost his daughter in the Sandy Hook massacre.
“That changed everything for me. It pushed me into helping people in the community," Notaro said.
More recently, he and his wife settled in Pinehurst and five years ago he became a full-time stay-at-home dad to their two children.
“When I look at Moore County and everything that is going on across the board, I thought, someone needs to step up. And I thought I could overcome it,” he said.
“But I realized for me to do this would mean I had to put my family second. That is what it would have been.”
Instead he decided to withdraw his name this week, hoping to provide ample time for other potential candidates to consider running for office.
Earlier this year, Mayor Nancy Fiorillo indicated she would not seek re-election to a third term.
Former Pinehurst council member John Strickland has also filed for the mayoral seat in Pinehurst, and will be joined on the ballot by Jane Hogeman who is seeking one of the two open council member seats.
Municipal Races Across County Heating Up
Thirty-two seats on town boards and councils will be up for grabs in this year’s municipal election.
Following a Monday slump with little activity, the Moore County Board of Elections office has qualified a handful of new candidates by midday Wednesday.
Aberdeen Town Commissioner Elease Goodwin has filed for re-election to her seat, joining Bryan Bowles on the ballot. Aberdeen Mayor Robbie Farrell is also seeking re-election to a third term.
Mike Cole has filed for one of two open council seats with Foxfire Village.
Incumbent George Stone and Mike Thomas have newly filed, joining incumbent Skip Ruedeman on the ballot for one of three open commissioner seats with Pinebluff.
Incumbent Brandon Phillips and Cameron Dockery have filed for one of two open commissioners seats with Robbins. Thus far no candidates have indicated interest in running for the open mayoral seat, currently held by Lonnie English.
The Rev. Dr. Paul Murphy, who was appointed to serve on the Southern Pines Town Council last fall, has filed his intent to run for one of two open council member seats in Southern Pines. He will be joined on the ballot by Bill Pate, who filed on Wednesday.
Southern Pines Council Member Carol Haney is seeking election to the mayoral seat and remains unchallenged. If she is elected, the Town Council would fill her seat by appointment.
Taylortown Mayor Ulysses Barrett, Jr. has filed for re-election, and will be joined on the ballot by fellow incumbents, Eddie Lloyd, Marvin Taylor, and James Thompson.
Also newly filing this week is Alexa Roberts for one of two four-year term open commissioner seats in Whispering Pines. She will be joined on the ballot by Glenn Bernhard, and also Ian Duke, Dean Kalles, and Matthew Martin who have filed for one of two unexpired two-year term open commissioner seats in Whispering Pines.
As previously reported, Carthage Town Commissioners Jimmy Challflinch and George Wilson, Jr., are both in the running for mayor of Carthage. They will be joined on the ballot by Dan Bonillo and Dustin Smith who are seeking one of two open commissioner seats.
Vass Mayor Eddie Callahan is seeking re-election and will be joined on the ballot by challenger Angela Vacek. Incumbent JR Blackwell has also filed for re-election to one of three open commissioner seats.
The official filing period runs to noon on July 19.