Kaizad Irani ’22 (He/Him), Features Editor Emeritus
Isa Deguzman ’25 (She/Her), Staff Writer
The leaves are falling, the weather has turned, and election season is here. Mayor Rusty Knox will run unopposed in the 2021 Davidson Municipal Election, along with eight candidates competing for five spaces on the Town Board of Commissioners. The Davidson Municipal Election will occur November 2, at the Davidson Town Hall from 6:30 am – 7:30 pm.
Knox has served as Davidson’s mayor since 2017. A former real estate agent and current folk musician, Knox originally ran to preserve Davidson’s historic downtown and protect it from an impending project to transform Davidson into “the next Birkdale Village.” After successfully stopping the project, Knox has focused on creating a transparent administration that reduces residential taxes, builds relationships with Davidson College and Lake Norman community, and improves infrastructure across the town.
With Commissioners Matthew Fort, Jim Fuller, and David Sitton all announcing they would not run for re-election, six new candidates are competing against incumbents Jane Campbell and Autumn Michael. For more information on candidates, read our voter guide on page seven.
Those registered to vote began to cast their ballots early starting October 23 at 8:00 am. Early voting will continue until October 30 at 3:00 pm. Early voting will be held at the Davidson Public Library, and voters can check their registration status online at https://www.usa.gov/confirm-voter-registration.
Although the registration deadline passed on October 8, the Center for Political Engagement (CPE) worked hard to get students registered to vote earlier this semester. Seventy incoming freshmen were registered this fall, in addition to the 400 sophomores, juniors, and seniors who were registered last year, according to CPE Co-President Tommy Cromie ‘22. Students who missed the deadline may also register and vote on the same day during early voting. Simply request a verification of enrollment letter from the Registrar to prove your Davidson residency when voting at the Public Library.
Cromie recalled that, “we held registration drives on campus this year at orientation, the student activities fair, the political engagement fair, and outside of Chambers and Commons, right up to the voter registration deadline.”
Cromie attributes the discrepancy between the number of students registered to vote last year versus this year to the lower media coverage of the Municipal Election.
“In a presidential year when North Carolina is a swing state, it’s a lot more likely that students will choose to register in North Carolina,” said Cromie. “But in a lower national attention election like a Davidson municipal election, where there really is no national media coverage, and students aren’t really tuned into the election, it’s a bit harder to get the energy up.”
Finally, the CPE works towards increasing voter turnout. Cromie explained that there will be rides and walks to the Davidson Public Library and Town Hall on election day, “because if a student is registered and educated, but they don’t turnout it doesn’t matter at all.”
He added, “Especially in the Davidson municipal election, student votes can really be the difference because very few people vote in the Davidson municipal election. The fact that we could have a large turnout of Davidson students could really sway the election.”
Boyd is a member of E2D, a Davidson-based non-profit working to increase accessibility to technology in Mecklenburg County. His top priorities include maintaining the safety of pedestrians, improving the town’s livability, fostering affordable living, ensuring proper financial bookkeeping, and improving cultural inclusion efforts.
Tracy Mattison Brandon
A Davidson resident for over 12 years, Brandon’s community involvement includes serving as a board member for Davidson Lifeline, a non-profit aimed at promoting mental health awareness in Davidson, and being a member of the Davidson Housing Coalition Homelessness Task Force. If elected, she hopes to address citizens’ concerns regarding affordable housing, town safety, and climate change.
Jane Campbell ‘87
Jane Campbell is seeking re-election to the Board of Commissioners, after first winning her seat in 2019. She graduated from Davidson College in 1987 and served in the U.S. Navy before entering government. Her top priorities are creating more affordable housing options, using technology to keep pedestrians safe, and increasing equality in the town. She has also pushed the town to link racial justice and historical preservation.
Matthew Dellinger ‘04
Matthew Dellinger is a Davidson College and USC Law graduate who practices law in Davidson. He has served as Chair of both the Davidson Planning Board and Board of Adjustments since 2018, and is an Elder at the Davidson College Presbyterian Church. Dellinger hopes to implement the Davidson Mobility Plan and Davidson Comprehensive Plan to improve the town’s infrastructure and overall development.
As Director of Business Operations for an auto dealer, Fay introduced an initiative to offer internships for students in local school districts. His priorities are diversity and equality, infrastructure, and fiscal responsibility. Fay wants to support minority- and women-owned businesses, improve pedestrian safety, and ensure funds from the American Recovery Act are spent well.
Autumn Michael is running for her third term on the Board of Commissioners. She is the former Executive Director of the Davidson Lands Conservancy and has previously worked as a land use attorney. Michael wants to preserve the town’s naturally occurring affordable housing (NOAH). She also hopes to foster more sustainability efforts through increasing greenway paths and create a new Historic Preservation Plan.
Tim Neal has lived in Davidson for over 11 years with experience in sales and business development. If elected, Neal intends to increase economic success through infrastructure development, diversifying the tax base, and improving transportation. His wants to ensure that the community has a voice in all town decisions. In addition, Neal believes his platform encourages a community of mutual respect for each other.
Dan Ryan has lived in Davidson since 2014 with a career background in information technology. His platform includes reducing the tax burden on small businesses and increasing public parks space. Ryan also advocates for a comprehensive pedestrian safety plan for Main Street and increased funding for the Davidson Police Department. Ryan serves on the River Run Property Owners Association and is a board member of the Dilworth Center, an addiction treatment center in Charlotte.