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Old Gold & Black

'Covers the campus like the magnolias'
"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

Candidate Roundup: a guide to 2024 municipal primary elections

We get it, city government is confusing. The Old Gold & Black is here to help.
“While we’re no Schoolhouse Rock, hopefully you have all the tools you need to head triumphantly to the ballot box this coming Tuesday, March 5.” (Courtesy of MoCo360)

Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the state executive offices of North Carolina through our previous guide, it’s time to move on to voting 201: municipal elections. 

The task of understanding the structure of city government can be a little overwhelming and maybe a bit tedious. So buckle up, the Old Gold & Black is here to help. 

What is the council/manager system? 

First, some fundamentals. Winston-Salem, like many cities in North Carolina and around the country, uses a council/manager system to structure the municipal government. Essentially, the City Council sets policies, and the city manager implements them at the board’s discretion. 

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Citizens elect the mayor and the Council members, but not the manager — they’re hired by the Council. Patrick Pate is Winston-Salem’s current city manager. 

The mayor, Allen Joines (D), is a symbolic leader for the city, serving as a presiding member of the Council and representing the city at official events. 


Joines has served as Winston-Salem’s mayor since 2001. He is seeking re-election amidst a small field of Democratic primary challengers. JoAnne Allen and Frankie Gist are both vying for the seat. 

No Republicans are running for mayor. 

City Council 

According to the city’s website, the Council is responsible for adopting and issuing ordinances, rules and regulations. They also approve the city budget and set property taxes and user fees. 

The constituencies for the City Council are geographically divided through Winston-Salem into eight wards: North, Northeast, Northwest, East, Southeast, Southwest, South and West. You only vote for the Council member candidate in the ward in which you are located. Wake Forest students living on the Reynolda campus are voting in the Northwest ward. 

East Ward 

Annette Scippio (D) is the incumbent, having served on the Council since 2018. Her ward encompasses part of downtown Winston, but notably, it includes Wake Downtown and the Innovation Quarter. 

Democrats Phil Carter, Jared Lamkin and Christopher Taylor are running to unseat Scippio. 

No Republicans are running for this seat.

North Ward  

The North Ward seat is currently occupied by Denise “DD” Adams (D), who also serves as the city’s mayor-pro tem — a position appointed by the mayor. She is the incumbent and has served in the position since 2009. 

A significant amount of Wake-Forest-owned property resides in the North ward, including the proposed Deacon Boulevard redevelopment.

Challenging Adams in the primary are Eunice Campell and Kymberli Rene Wellman. 

No Republicans are running for this seat.

Northeast Ward 

Incumbent Barbara Hanes Burke (D) is seeking her second term as the Northeast ward Council member. Burke is a former member of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education. 

She is being challenged by Paula Mccoy (D), who runs a local consulting firm specializing in community development. 

No Republicans are running for this seat. 

Northwest Ward 

In a significant shakeup, incumbent Jeff MacIntosh (D) who served the ward since 2013, announced in late January he would not seek re-election. 

Now, two Democrats are hoping to maintain the seat while the Republican party has dispatched two candidates of their own to flip it. 

The Reynolda Campus of Wake Forest University is situated in this ward. 

For the Democrats, Regina Hall, director of the Boston-Thurmond community network and retired Vermont State Senator Bob Hartwell are running. 

Herbert Burns Jr. and James “Jimmy” Hodson are the Republicans seeking the seat. Hodson previously ran for the same ward in 2016. 

South Ward 

Incumbent John C. Larson (D) has served on the Council since 2016 and will be running for his third term. 

Larson faces a busy lineup of other Democrats: Carolyn Highsmith, Vivian Joiner and Adrian Smith are all taking a crack at the south ward.

No Republicans are running for this seat.

Board of Commissioners

This is a separate policy-setting body that works parallel to the City Council. They govern the county rather than the city. 

Early in February, incumbent commissioner David Plyer (R) announced that he would not be seeking reelection — shaking up the field after the filing deadline had already closed. 

There are only three seats up for grabs this cycle. 

For the Democrats, Valerie Brockenbrough, Curtis Fentress, Kendall Fields and Marsie West are running. 

The Republicans have an equally crowded crop of candidates. Richard V. Linville (incumbent), Gloria D. Whisenhunt (incumbent), Terri Mrazek, Ralf Walters and Gray Wilson are competing for the seats. 

Register of deeds 

The register of deeds oversees the distribution and management of a large swath of public records for the county. These could include marriage and birth certificates or other deeds.

Two Democrats are running for the register of deed’s office: Lynne Johnson (D), who is the incumbent, and Brittany Bailey (D). 

No Republicans are running for this seat. 

While we’re no Schoolhouse Rock, hopefully you have all the tools you need to head triumphantly to the ballot box this coming Tuesday, March 5.

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About the Contributor
James Watson
James Watson, Arts & Culture Editor
James Watson is a sophomore from Wilmington, N.C. who plans on majoring in politics and international affairs and minoring in classical studies. Outside of OGB, James is heavily involved in state and local politics and the director of Deacs Decide on campus. A host on Wake Radio, James loves the sound of his own voice. He is also a serial tweeter.

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