HERTFORD — Hertford's mayor has withdrawn his candidacy for re-election, expressing concern he might get into a physical altercation with other town officials if he remains in office.
Horace Reid, who was elected Hertford mayor in 2015 after serving on the town council for a number of terms, filed for re-election on Friday but then withdrew his candidacy on Monday.
“I was thinking if I turn around and hit someone I have to go to jail,” Reid said, explaining his decision to withdraw.
Reid didn't say with whom he was concerned about getting into an altercation. However, Hertford's mayor previously has engaged in a number of loud and boisterous arguments with Councilor Quentin Jackson, Hertford Town Council's mayor pro tem, and Councilman Frank Norman.
Jackson has admitted hitting another Hertford town councilor, Sid Eley, in the head with a closed fist after they engaged in an argument at a council meeting last October. Jackson was subsequently found guilty of assault on a government official in District Court in January but has appealed the ruling to Superior Court.
Reid said he was torn about seeking a second four-year term as mayor. He said he was encouraged to run again, but over the weekend had second thoughts and decided to withdraw his candidacy. Several members of his family also urged him not to run for re-election, he said.
With Reid stepping aside, the race for mayor is currently between Jackson, who filed last week, and first-time candidate Earnell Brown, who filed the first week of filing. The last day to file for Hertford's town election in November is noon on Friday.
Jackson has declined to comment on his reasons for running for mayor. But in a Facebook post, Jackson, who's in the middle of his first four-year council term, said he's looking to do more for Hertford.
“I must say that I have been through a storm since I have been elected, but God put no more on us than we can bear," he said. " I’m happy with the work I have done for you guys and can’t wait to do more once I get elected.”
Jackson was apparently referring to his arrest in the Eley matter and in several other criminal incidents. He was found guilty of resisting a police officer in February 2018 but acquitted of a felony perjury charge last week.
Under state law, Jackson can keep his council seat while running for mayor. He would have to give it up, however, if he's elected.
There have been no new filings in Hertford or Winfall since last week. Besides Jackson and Brown in the mayor's race, three candidates have filed for Hertford's two open council seats: incumbent Gracie Felton and first-time candidates Jerry Mimlitsch and Robert Ashley Hodges. Eley, who currently holds one of the seats, has not said if he'll run for re-election.
In Winfall, Mayor Fred Yates and Preston Tyrone White are still the only two candidates to file for election.
In Edenton, a race has developed for mayor with the filing by Jacqueline Hardy-Lassiter, a local business owner. She joins Jimmy Stallings, a town councilman, who had already filed for mayor. Current Mayor Roland Vaughan has already announced he's not seeking re-election.
Edenton also will have a race for 2nd Ward councilor following the filing by Tray Taylor this week. Taylor, who works at Regulator Marine, joins incumbent Councilman Sam Dixon, who has filed for re-election.
Taylor, who unsuccessfully sought an at-large council seat in 2017, said he's running to help Edenton more forward.
“I’m running for council to inspire the young adults in this town, and to create a safe and prosperous community by educating people, and to develop programs that will uplift this town,” he said.
Currently there are no races yet for the other two open seats in Edenton.
William Hackney High Jr., a local attorney, has filed for the 1st Ward seat currently held by Stallings.
Roger Coleman has filed for the at-large council seat currently held by Steve Biggs.
According to the Chowan Herald, Biggs, Edenton Town Council's mayor pro tem, is expected to make an announcement about his re-election plans this week.
In Elizabeth City, only the incumbent mayor and eight incumbent councilors had filed for the city's October election as of Tuesday. No challengers have filed.
Chowan Herald Staff Writer Miles Layton contributed to this report.