It wasn't much of a secret around Cornelius, but commissioner Woody Washam made it official Monday: He's running for mayor.
The Cornelius native and longtime local banker is the first to announce for the job. Current Mayor Chuck Travis hasn't said whether he'll seek another term.
If Travis does, the tide is against him within Town Hall. Washam's announcement came with word that he has the endorsement of all four fellow commissioners as well as the town's two statehouse reps - Sen. Jeff Tarte and Rep. John Bradford.
Washam was first elected to the board in 2013, and won reelection in 2015, when he was the top voter getter with 1,925 votes. That's about the same number as Mayor Travis collected (1,938) in his uncontested 2015 reelection race. Washam is the town's mayor pro-tem.
“After being asked and encouraged to run by many community and business leaders, I’ve now decided to step up and run for Mayor so our town will have the bold leader it deserves," Washam said in a press release. "As Mayor, my number one priority will be to serve as a strong voice for my fellow citizens, working and fighting to ensure Cornelius remains the town we all love for decades to come.”
Travis has faced criticism from commissioners over his support for the NC Department of Transportation's I-77 widening project, which includes optional toll lanes. Last year, the town board censured him over the I-77 issue.
The toll lane project is under construction on 26 miles of I-77 from Charlotte north to Mooresville, and it's become a key issue in local races. In 2015, Huntersville voters voted out the mayor and two commissioners in a campaign that focused heavily on the I-77 issue. Washam announced Monday that he also has the support of Huntersville Mayor John Aneralla, Huntersville Mayor Pro-Tem Danny Phillips, and Davidson Mayor Pro-Tem Beth Cashion.