The 2023 Municipal Election: GOP Continues its Streak of Left-of-right & Real Estate Linked Candidates

by | Nov 6, 2023 | Elections, News Analysis, Commentary and Opinion

Get to Know Who You’re Voting for in the 2023 Municipal Elections

Tomorrow, November 7th, voters in North Carolina will take to the polls for municipal elections, casting their votes for various positions including mayors, city council members, and aldermen. New Hanover County has three municipalities on the ballot: Kure Beach, Carolina Beach, and Wilmington. It is important for voters to note that these municipal elections are non-partisan; thus, the candidates’ political affiliations will not be displayed on the ballots. To assist voters, the New Hanover County Republican Party has provided a sample ballot highlighting the Republican candidates, denoted with circles around their names.

(click on image below to download pdf file)

No Republican Mayoral Candidate for Wilmington, Again?!

This is the third election over seven years that the Republican Party failed to put a Mayoral candidate on the ballot; so once again, Bill Saffo will run for Mayor of Wilmington without a GOP opponent.

Wilmington’s 2023 City Council Race

GOP Contenders: Neil Anderson, Kathryn Bruner, and John Lennon

In the race for Wilmington’s City Council, three Republican contenders are vying with four Democrats for three available seats.

Neil Anderson

Among the Republicans, Neil Anderson has earned our robust endorsement. Demonstrating remarkable resilience, Anderson has maintained his conservative principles even when he stood as the sole conservative on the council. In 2020, he notably cast his vote against the ‘Black Lives Do Matter’ public art display downtown, during a period when Wilmington Police were kneeling to BLM rioters, and other political figures yielded to the pressures of the Social Justice movement. Additionally, Anderson has openly challenged the decision to repurpose the former Thermo Fisher executive penthouse for city officers.

(Below) Neil Anderson, the only Republican Wilmington city council candidate we endorse.

Neil Anderson for Wilmington City Council

Kathryn Bruner

California-raised Kathryn Bruner is new to New Hanover’s political scene. Regrettably, her campaign fails to tackle pressing matters with substance. Her positions are unclear, and her messaging appears to parrot the language of military diction, likely learned during her tenure with the Coast Guard. Given her current profession as a realtor, her election would likely add yet another advocate for the local Real Estate industry. Bruner has established herself as a moderate, somewhat ‘purple’ Republican through her alignment with Girard Newkirk, who unsuccessfully solicited the city to subsidize his social justice business center. Despite her Republican registration, we are compelled to withhold our endorsement.

(Below) Kathryn Bruner made her alignment with Equity social justice advocate Girard Newkirk, far right, in her Facebook campaign video promo.

Kathryn Bruner aligns herself with Gerard Newkirk

John Lennon

As a representative of the Real Estate industry, candidate John Lennon has anchored his campaign on the construction of large, multi-story housing complexes, promoting the oft-used Liberal catchphrase “affordable housing.” At a recent GOP event, he claimed New Hanover County faces a deficit of thousands housing units, a figure that just doesn’t reconcile with current homeless numbers. He insists that creating high-density housing is the only path to affordability in the area. However, Lennon’s perspective seems out of touch with the reality of the real estate landscape in New Hanover, which operates on a national rather than a local scale. The region, with its beautiful coastal beaches, lively downtown, and array of outdoor pursuits, competes for homebuyers with other national markets having similar amenities. Many New Hanover homebuyers come from regions where the cost of a single-family home has surpassed the million-dollar mark. These out-of-state individuals often have the capacity to purchase several properties at once upon their arrival. Contrary to Lennon’s view, real estate in this county is not overpriced; it arguably has the most affordable coastal community housing in the nation. Simply building more housing units is unlikely to reduce the price tags on homes; instead, it will further attract buyers from other states, exacerbating local challenges associated with overpopulation and high-density living conditions. Despite Lennon’s Republican affiliation, his flawed strategy regarding “affordable housing” is why we cannot outright endorse his candidacy.

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  1. Peter, rather than criticizing the NHC Republican Party regarding the absence of a viable candidate for mayor, why don’t you step up to the task. You and your friends are quick to criticize others without a solution,

    • Bev, I bet you’re REALLY fun at parties.
      And yes, solutions are often offered and a brush up on your reading comprehension renders your last statement null, no? I suppose now would be a good time to thank you for ADMITTING, in a radically de facto way, that there is a problem.

      • Peter, I’m not admitting anything, as you imply. My point is that you and your group always complain, but never offer solutions. So, if you feel that the NHC GOP did not put anyone up to run against Saffo, why don’t you or your friends consider running?

  2. The candidates were weak, there is a glut of real estate and developers on on Board of Commissioner’s and the City Council. Yes, affordable housing is Lib speak for population dense housing, that is still overpriced. The GOP here seems to have given up. No viable,Republican, candidate for mayor again? SMH Thanks for the good work


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