Tony Wilkins has announced he is running for mayor of Greensboro in 2021.
Because the terms of the mayor and city councilmembers are now four years, there is no election in 2019, but that doesn’t mean there is no political intrigue.
Wilkins was the district 5 city councilmember from 2012 to 2017. He was originally appointed to the district 5 seat to finish out the term of Trudy Wade after she was elected to the North Carolina state Senate. Wilkins then won the elections in 2013 and 2015, but in 2017 was defeated by the current District 5 Councilmember Tammi Thurm.
Wilkins said, “I’m running with the intention of making Greensboro the most business friendly city in North Carolina.”
When asked to expand on that, Wilkins said, “For one thing, I’m opposed to having the highest property tax rate of any comparable city in the state. That’s not being business friendly.”
Wilkins added, “I think we need to make sure that city employees are on the same page with the idea of being the most business friendly city in the state.”
Wilkins also said he would be talking with local investors about changes that could be made to city government to make it more business friendly.
And in answer to the big question, why announce in 2019 for a race in 2021 Wilkins said, “I feel like I need the extra time to gather the 16,000 votes necessary to win.”
Wilkins said that he wasn’t naïve about what it would take for a conservative to be elected mayor of Greensboro. He said he thought a successful campaign would cost about $60,000 and he had about $15,000 in his campaign account.
Although you never know who is going to run until the filing closes, Mayor Nancy Vaughan who has been mayor since 2013 has indicated she doesn’t intend to run for reelection in 2021.
Both District 3 City Councilmember Justin Outling and At large City Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter are considered likely to run for mayor in 2021, but with the election over two years away, no one else has made their intentions official. At least for a while it appears Wilkins will have the field all to himself.