NEW BERN, CRAVEN COUNTY - Monday was the first day of the election filing period in Craven County, and New Bern's mayoral race is already heating up.
Three candidates filed for candidacy at the board of elections Monday morning. The candidates include New Bern Aldermen Sabrina Bengel and Dana Outlaw, and newcomer Edwin Vargas.
Vargas is a New Bern Citizen who has never run for office before. He said he's unhappy with the way things are run in the city.
"I decided to run for mayor because I've seen a lot of problems with the city financially over the last four years," Vargas said.
Bengel and Outlaw said their experience as aldermen make them qualified for the position.
"I feel very comfortable in running for this position," Bengel said. "I know New Bern better than anybody that's going to walk into this door today."
"I think we need as a leader somebody that will quit dodging the hard issues and taking on the easy ones," Outlaw said.
The elected candidate will take over for current mayor Lee Bettis. Bettis announced in March he would not run for reelection.
"Ive done what I said I was going to do and now I'm very happy to pass it off to the best candidate or the candidate the city wants," Bettis said.
Candidates have until noon July 19th to file for candidacy.