WILMINGTON — Cape Fear Realtors has announced endorsements for candidates in five municipal races in New Hanover and Pender counties.
The endorsements, which follow interviews with the candidates by the organization’s Candidate Selection Task Force, include Democrats and Republicans, incumbents and newcomers. According to a release from Densay Sengsoulavong, former second vice chair of the New Hanover Couty GOP and current government affairs director for Cape Fear Realtors, the organization’s board of directors approved these endorsements, and “expressed their confidence in the candidates’ knowledge of local and real estate issues that affect the community.”
Those endorsements include Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo, the incumbent candidate — Saffo is the city’s longest-serving mayor, appointed in 2006 and reelected six times since 2007. The Cape Fear Realtors also endorsed all three incumbent Wilmington City Council candidates. While the race is non-partisan, the endorsements include registered Democrats Paul Lawler and Margaret Haynes, and Republican Neil Anderson.
In Carolina Beach, Cape Fear Realtors endorsed current Town Councilmember LeAnn Pierce in her bid for the mayoral seat left open by current Mayor Joe Benson, who is not running for reelection. Also endorsed were incumbent Steve Shuttleworth and newcomer Lynn Barbee.
Other endorsements included current Wrightsville Beach Mayor Pro-Tem Darryl Mills who is running for the mayor seat left open by Bill Blair, who has been mayor since 2014 but announced earlier this year he would not run again. Cape Fear Realtors also endorsed Zeke Partin and Jeff DeGroote, both current Planning Board members who are seeking seats on the Wrightsville Beach’s Board of Aldermen.
In Kure Beach, there were endorsements for the three incumbents — Mayor Craigh Bloszinsky and councilmembers Joseph Whitley and David Heglar — who are all running unopposed.
Lastly, in the Town of Burgaw, the Cape Fear Realtors endorsed incumbent commissioners William ‘Bill’ George, III and Vernon Harrell. Former Pender County Commissioner Wilfred L. ‘Red’ Robbins also received an endorsement.
According to Luke Waddell, who chaired the 2019 Candidate Selection Task Force, “All politics is local, and nothing that impacts the citizen more immediately than the decisions of local town and city councils. We wanted to be as thorough as possible in our candidate selection process because our voice not only represents REALTORS® but also the homeowner clients and customers that we represent daily.”
President Sherri Pridgen added, “As the Voice of Real Estate, we are involved in the process of creating good public policy and are proud of our efforts to protect private property rights and promote homeownership interests as well as economic development.”