Sims won’t seek reelection as mayor of High Point

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The slate is set for High Point City Council elections in November.

Bernita Sims, who has served on tumultuous term as the city’s first African-American mayor, won’t run for reelection.

With Sims bowing out, political ally Marcus Brandon will run in her place. Brandon lost his bid for the 12th Congressional District to state Rep. Alma Adams in the Democratic primary earlier this year, and is completing his second term in the state House.

Bill Bencini, a former member of High Point City Council and the current chairman of the Guilford County Commission, is also running for mayor.

Both Brandon and Bencini have tried to tamp down on the emotional temperature of a boiling controversy over revitalization and the role of the City Project, and whichever candidate wins will have to walk a tightrope between appearing uniting factions and demonstrating decisive leadership.

In another monumental turn of events, Becky Smothers, who has served on council and as mayor off and on since the Carter administration, will not run for reelection for her at-large seat.

Foster Douglas, whose four terms in office as representative of Ward 2 have been roiled by contention, is not running. Jerry Mingo and Chris Williams have filed for the seat.

Britt Moore, who currently holds one of the at-large seats, is running. City Project supporter and We Heart High Point cofounder David Rosen is also running at large, along with former council member Latimer Alexander and former candidates Cynthia Davis, Ed Squires Jr., Regina Chahal and Orrick Quick. Political newcomer Michael A. Holmes has also entered the race.

Alyce Hill, who is challenging Judy Mendenhall in Ward 3, has explicitly tied her candidacy  to her displeasure over the city’s handling of City Project in past comments.

Roger Sims, who is challenging incumbent Jim Davis in Ward 5, and Jim Corey, who is challenging Jason Ewing in Ward 6, have expressed interest in ideas promoted by City Project, including “dieting” North Main Street and creating an alternative downtown to compensate for the dominance of the furniture market.

Incumbent Jay Wagner, a supporter of City Project, faces a challenge from Jim Bronnert in Ward 4.

One-term incumbent Jeff Golden faces two challengers: Willie Davis and Jo Williams.

I’ll have more analysis of the city council election in my Citizen Green column next Wednesday.