Mayor Nancy Vaughan and District 3 City Councilmember Justin Outling are considered by nearly everyone to be the front runners in the mayoral primary.

Eric Robert and Mark Cummings are also on the nonpartisan primary ballot, but the smart money, and even most of the dumb money, is on Vaughan and Outling to be facing each other in the July 26 general election.

Outling and Vaughan have a running debate – not in person, but in their campaign emails – each accusing the other of being misleading or disingenuous in what they have stated.

One issue going back and forth is the subject of Outling having to be recused from votes because he is a partner in the Brooks Pierce law firm and has to be recused for a conflict of interest on any issue that involves a client of the firm, even if it that representation is on a completely different matter.

Vaughan, who has no employment other than as mayor of Greensboro, doesn’t have to be recused because of conflicts of interest caused by her job.

An email from titled “Misleading For Your Vote” states, “The incumbent mayor has repeatedly said I will not be able to serve effectively because I occasionally recuse myself in votes on matters that involve the firm I work for as an attorney. Not only does she portray my ethical conduct as a liability, but she also presents her argument in a misleading way.”

Outling states, “During the seven years I have represented District Three on the city council I have taken part in thousands of votes.  Only two of the votes I recused myself from were not unanimous and in not a single case would the outcome of the vote have been affected by my recusal. Additionally, over this same time the incumbent mayor and I have both voted on 98% of the items before council (including absences).

The email from titled “Recusal 101” states, “I want to make sure that you understand what a ‘recusal’ is.  My opponent Councilman Outling, is trying to justify his absences from voting and make you feel like it’s not a big deal.  The issue is: it’s a very big deal. If you have to recuse yourself from an item, it not only means that you can’t vote, it also means that you can’t discuss, deliberate, or be ‘In the Room Where It Happens.’ It means one must be ‘hands off.’”

Vaughan states, “You deserve a mayor who can actively and effectively represent you whether it’s Toyota, Boom, affordable housing or a host of other issues.”

Vaughan continues, “My opponent Councilman Outling, has said his law firm will be involved in any issue of a consequential’ (i.e. important or significant) nature.  That’s good for them and bad for you.  My opponent would not be allowed to deliberate or preside over that portion of the meeting, let alone vote. Therefore he would not be able to perform mayoral duties!”

No doubt the campaign emails back and forth will continue.