New Cumberland race for mayor heating up

NEW CUMBERLAND – An interesting political season may be in the offing now that three people have filed to run for mayor of the small county seat.

New Cumberland city elections, held every two years, are scheduled for May 14 and will decide the mayor’s race and three City Council races.

Incumbent Mayor Richard Blackwell, 71, said he will run for re-election. He will face 1st Ward Councilman Pat Jones and political newcomer Linda McNeil, 71, president of the Hancock County Museum Commission.

In City Council, only one race is contested – Ward 1, Seat C, which will pit incumbent Brian Webster, 47, against Melissa Perkins, 48. Ward 2 incumbents Shawn Marks, 63, and Judith Bartley are both running unopposed.

Ward 2, Seat B Councilman Jack “Art” Watson is not running for re-election, and no one filed for that seat by the Jan. 26 deadline, so the vacancy will have to be filled by mayoral appointment, City Clerk Tammy Jenkins said.

New Cumberland has two wards, each of which has three council seats. Council members serve four-year terms, but the terms are staggered so that there are elections for some seats every two years.

“There’s never a total replacement of council,” said Blackwell, a former councilman who was appointment mayor in May 2011 after the resignation of Mayor Joe Sargent.

Council members who serve by mayoral appointment must run for election after two years, Jenkins said.

In the mayoral race, Blackwell will have a two-year record to run on. Previously, he served on City Council on and off since 1973.

A drawing for the order in which candidates’ names will appear on the ballot will be held on Tuesday.

There are an estimated 900 registered voters in New Cumberland.