Kinston mayor B.J. Murphy files for the mayor’s race on the last day of filing for the 2013 general election with his wife, Jessica, standing by his side. Jean Alphin, deputy director of the Lenoir County Board of Elections, assists Murphy in filing paperwork. Murphy recanted his original decision not to run again for mayor in the 2013 general election and filed for the race about 45 minutes before the noon deadline on Friday.
Sara Pezzoni / The Free Press
Two candidates who continuously said they weren’t running for positions in Kinston government changed their minds and filed shortly before the deadline.
At 11 a.m. — one hour before the filing deadline — John Nix put in his bid to become a member of the city council at the Lenoir County Board of Elections on Friday. Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy did the same thing 12 minutes later, filing for re-election.
Murphy — who is currently serving his first term — was initially going to stay out of the mayoral race and leave it to Ralph Clark and John Marks. Through constant persuasion by his wife and members of the community, Murphy decided to run again.
“My wife, Jessica, talked to me about a month ago, asking me to seriously reconsider and run for re-election,” Murphy said. “The amount of supporters I’ve had in the community has been really humbling.”
Murphy also wrote on his blog Friday, saying “I’ve had a ton of supporters in the community ask me to reconsider via phone calls, text messages and Facebook.”
Murphy believes that his work ethic and familiarity will play a role in his being re-elected.
“One major advantage I have is the continuity in government,” Murphy said. “Over the past four years I’ve been able to make connections and have great relationships with other mayors, governors and senators across the state. I just want to help Kinston become a better place.”
Nix — like Murphy — is looking to do the same in improving Kinston. Although, he lost his first bid for a seat on the city council in 2011, Nix has decided to run again because he believes the city could use his assistance.
“I just reassessed the representation and felt like I had most qualities to help the city attract business, increase the tax base and focus more on infrastructure,” Nix said. “I feel like we should improve more on what we have instead of building more and reprioritize our spending.”
Nix is best known for being part of a group who made a push for nonpartisan elections in Kinston, taking their case to the federal court. With the Supreme Court’s decision to repeal Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act last month — partly because of the case in Kinston — the city will have its first election without need of a primary.
“About 67 percent of the citizens voted for it in 2009 and it took a group of people — myself included — to bring it to where it is today,” Nix said. “It saves the city and county money plus each voter has to look at the candidate instead of the party they represent.”
Nix is excited to run for city council and possibly avenge his loss two years ago.
“I feel good running for city council, because this is something I’ve been fighting for over the past three and a half years,” Nix said. “Still, I don’t equate that into why I’m running. I equate that into what I can do for the city. I love my community and I want to serve.”
Junious Smith III can be reached at 252-559-1077 andJunious.Smith@Kinston.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JuniousSmithIII.