By Seth Littrell
Register News Writer
RICHMOND — The Richmond mayor’s race will not need a primary this year, as only two candidates are facing each other for the seat.
Incumbent Jim Barnes, who has served one term as mayor and previously held a commission seat, is being challenged by first-term commissioner and former local business owner Laura King.
Barnes and King have clashed multiple times over the course of the last term, in instances such as the removal of parking for county employees on First Street and flooding problems occurring after the completion of the Sunset avenue Storm Water Drainage Project.
In contrast to the mayor’s race, the election for the city commission saw a flood of hopefuls prior to the filing deadline, bringing the total to 12 candidates.
Incumbents Donna Baird, Robert Blythe and Jim Newby are all seeking re-election. Baird, a retired bank employee, has served two full terms as commissioner. Blythe, a veteran on the commission, is seeking a seventh term, and Newby hopes to win a second term.
They are challenged by some previous commissioners and newcomers.
Bobby Johns, a realtor who has run for the commission in past elections, was one of the first challengers to throw his hat into the ring. Also running is planning commissioner and former city commissioner Richard Thomas, a retired hospital administrator. Jason Morgan, an nursing home administrator, who like Thomas, lost a second-term bid two years ago, is seeking a return to the commission.
Former mayor and commissioner as well as former fiscal court magistrate Bill Strong announced he was filing two weeks ago. Shortly afterward, first-time candidate Bonnie Cable, a realtor, entered the race as well. Former commissioner and county EMS employee Mike Brewer and the city’s former parks and recreation director, Kevin Gorman, soon followed suit.
Auto industry retiree William Mulhern, who has sought election in the past, is in the race as is John Young, an insurance agency owner, who filed his candidacy just before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline.