CHARLES TOWN – With three Charles Town City Council members opting not to seek re-election and the mayor announcing he’ll resign in June, Charles Town will have new faces at the helm this summer.

To help voters decide which potential leaders deserve support, the Jefferson County chapter of the NAACP has organized a candidates forum for tonight.

Early voting for the four City Council seats begins Friday at City Hall and continues from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through May 20 (except for the two Sundays, May 12 and May 19).

Election Day happens May 23 when polls at City Hall will open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m.

The eight-member City Council each earn $2,400 annually and are elected to four-year terms.

This year’s race involves four official candidates – attorney James Kratovil in Ward 1, business owner Jean Petti in Ward 2, real estate agent Heather Sprenger in Ward 3 and incumbent Bob Trainor in Ward 4 – as well as two men mounting write-in campaigns.

Though the names of Ry Hutcherson of Ward 1 and James Walch of Ward 3 won’t appear on the ballot, both filed write-in candidacies by the March 9 deadline and will be listed on the instruction sheet the city will hand out to voters about to enter the ballot box.

Hutcherson, chairman of the Charles Town Planning Commission, was a Ward 1 write-in candidate two years ago but lost to incumbent Chet Hines. He also ran for the U.S. Senate in 2018.

Walch is a city native whose family owns The Fun Shack on Augustine Avenue and its associated food truck, Dog Shack.

Sprenger and Trainor are both running unopposed.

Early voting kicks off at 8 a.m. Friday at City Hall and continues from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays through May 20. On Election Day, May 23, city residents may vote at City Hall between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Mayor Scott Rogers announced a week ago that he’ll give up his post next month, but his move came after the May 23 ballot already had been printed – too late for voters to decide on a replacement. His term ends June 30, 2021.

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