Kinston residents have three candidates to choose from in the race for mayor.
BJ Murphy, who's running for re-election, faces challengers Ralph Clark and John Marks.
Mayor Murphy says he wasn't going to run for re-election, but decided to after persistence from his family and members of the community. He says he wants to continue the economic progress in the city.
Murphy says, "I'm an experienced leader with proven results. Take a ride around this community, the night life is coming back, buildings are being redeveloped."
Candidate Ralph Clark, a former city manager of Kinston, says he decided to run when he first heard Mayor Murphy was not going to run again. He says if elected, his first goal will be controlling city taxes and utility fees.
Clark says, "If you look at my experience at the things over the years in trying to have an understanding in local government. But also I've shown leadership skills over the years. And not only in the city government, but I've been a leader in national organizations, state organizations, churches, everywhere I've been I've served in some kind of leadership role."
Candidate John Marks, a local pastor in Kinston, says his lack of experience in local government is what makes him the best choice.
Marks says "They are in city government. They're on the inside looking out. I'm on the outside looking in. We do need plenty of jobs here in Kinston, a foundation for people to work. Some people are looking for work, we know that unemployment is still high, but we need to bring in businesses that will create jobs and have our people back at work."
Early voting continues through November 2nd. Election day is November 5th.