Some of us are still wanting to relitigate the 2020 election, while others are already campaigning for 2022 positions. And so we worry that the most important elections for us as citizens and taxpayers — municipal council races — may go overlooked or unengaged. That would be a mistake.

If you live in an incorporated town or village, you have a reason to vote on Tuesday. Municipal races are normally more staid than their federal or state counterparts. But the elections being contested Tuesday represent perhaps some of the most important races affecting local residents.

We all have opinions on national politics and the affairs of Congress, but very little of the doings in D.C. will impact our lives in any meaningful way.

Those who win elected office in two days will be responsible for setting local property taxes, ensuring timely garbage collection, addressing zoning and development, and providing adequate police and fire protection in our 11 municipalities.

If you don’t think that’s all important, consider the small western Moore County village of Foxfire. After three longtime Village Council members decided to step down this year, the council was worried enough about recruiting enough candidates that it sent a mailer to all residents encouraging their participation. As a result, 11 candidates stepped up to run. Good for them.

The candidates we elect Tuesday will be faced over the next few years with how to handle growth in Moore County. That issue, perhaps more than any other, has set the tone this year for races, from Carthage to Whispering Pines and Aberdeen.

Our Picks Recapped

Over the past couple of weeks, The Pilot has run editorial endorsements in several key races. Much as we’d love to, we just don’t have the time to interview candidates for all of Moore’s municipalities. The ballot started with 72 candidates running for 37 slots.

We were able to interview the candidates running for office in Aberdeen, Pinehurst and Southern Pines, municipalities that collectively account for almost half the county’s population. We offer the following as a refresher:


Mayor: Voters have an easy choice here; current Mayor Robbie Farrell is running unopposed. Farrell has done an excellent job and deserves another two-year term.

Council: Voters must choose from four candidates — Daniel Behnke, Timothy Helms, Wilma Laney and Tim Marcham — to fill two seats.

The Pilot endorses Laney, who is running for re-election after a four-year term, and Behnke. Laney has been a solid representative for the town’s residents on growth issues, and Behnke’s professional experience as a planner gives him a solid grounding on the matters he faces.


Council: Voters also have four candidates on their ballot: Kevin Drum, Jeff Morgan, Patrick Pizzella and Emily Stack. The two highest vote-getters will win four-year terms.

The Pilot endorses Morgan and Pizzella. Morgan, a retired Army colonel, is an orthopedist and health care administrator in Fayetteville. He is a man of great efficiency, keen insight and sound strategy. Pizzella, retired from a career in federal government, has spelled out a clear vision for protecting Pinehurst’s values and how the village should grow in the future.

Southern Pines

Council: Town voters have four candidates competing for two seats: Taylor Clement, Brandon Goodman, Ann Petersen and Mike Saulnier. Saulnier sits on the council, having been appointed two years ago to fill a vacancy, so this is his first election, as it also is for the other three.

All four are excellent candidates for the town, but The Pilot endorses Clement and Petersen. Both have outlined strong platforms for protecting the culture of Southern Pines and fostering diversity. At the same time, they present different but solid outlooks on how best to guide coming growth, especially in west Southern Pines.

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(2) comments

Conrad Meyer

And don't forget, the country chose poorly in 2020. L'il Joey and his sidekick are a total disaster. Patriotic Americans have now figured this out.

Matthew Hintz

Americans Anger with our corrupt government is Righteous. The DOJ and FBI prove their partisan evil ways almost every day for all to see.

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