On Tuesday, nearly 600,000 North Carolinians headed to the polls to vote in municipal elections across the state, which represents 16.74% voter turnout. In this edition, McGuireWoods Consulting takes a look at the results of Tuesday’s municipal elections, including a spotlight on the Charlotte elections from Tricia Cotham, who is headquartered out of McGuireWoods’ Charlotte office.
Spotlight on Charlotte
On Tuesday, Charlotte elected Democrat Vi Lyles as its’ next mayor. Lyles is currently mayor pro-tem and previously worked in the city’s budget office. Lyles will be the first African American female to serve as mayor of Charlotte. Lyles defeated Republican city council member and commercial real-estate developer, Kenny Smith.
Joining Lyles at the dais will be nine Democrats and two Republicans. Five new members were elected to the council, and one who was recently appointed, was elected this week to her first full term. This is the “youngest” council in Charlotte’s history, with six of the members being under the age of forty.
On Election Day, roughly 21% of Charlotte voted, this is a third higher than the previous mayoral election. Democrats out performed Republicans two to one. Kenny Smith had more financial resources, television ads, and an aggressive ground game, but that could not overcome the city’s strong Democratic registration and consistent turnout efforts and grassroots organizing by the Democrats.
On the city council, the candidate winning the most votes of anyone was Julie Eiselt. She is returning for her second term and is likely to be elected by her colleagues as mayor pro-tem.
The swearing-in is on December 4, 2017.
An Intro to the New Charlotte City Council:
Community activist and Democratic party leader, Larken Egleston defeated Democratic incumbent, and former mayor, Patsy Kinsey, in September’s Democratic primary. Egleston is in sales and is married. He has served on numerous city and county boards including the Charlotte Historic Landmark Commission. This is his first public office.
Charlotte area dentist Justin Harlow will represent district two on the council. Harlow is president of his neighborhood association and is active in local community issues. This is his first political run. He is married with one small child.
Current council member LaWana Mayfield, handedly defeated her Republican challenger to stay on as the representative for district three. Mayfield is a vocal member of the council and is married. She is a proud member of the LGBT community.
District 4 :
Current council member Greg Phipps, a Democrat faced no general opposition and will return to council for his third term. Phipps is a retired national bank examiner. He is married with three grown children.
This seat has had a lot of changes. Dimple Ajmera was appointed to fill the vacancy when former member John Autry was elected to the NC House. Ajmera was elected to an at large slot. Former Democratic County Chairman and attorney Matt Newton will represent the fifth district. Newton defeated community activist and neighborhood leader, Darrell Bonapart, in a run-off.
Kenny Smith vacated this seat to run for mayor. Tariq Bokhari won this race on Tuesday. Tariq is well-known in Republican circles, serving as former county party chair and previously sought a seat on council. Tariq is a businessman and married with small children.
District 7 :
Ed Driggs easily won reelection to his third term. Driggs is well-respected for his business perspective and knowledge that he brings to council. Driggs, a Republican, hosts a weekly “Ballantyne Coffee” where more conservative members of the community gather and discuss current affairs. He is a retired business leader and married.
At large members:
Julie Eiselt , a Democrat, was the top vote getter and is going into her second term. She is poised to be the mayor pro-tem.
Democrat James “Smuggie” Mitchell is a well-known face on council and in the community. “Smuggie” as he is affectionately known, is the most senior and experienced member of this council. He is a former president of the National League of Cities and is a business developer.
Braxton Winston II debuted into the national spotlight during the Charlotte Uprising. Braxton, a Democrat, is new to Charlotte politics, a Davidson grad, and a proud member of the Stagehand Union. He is married with small children.
Dimple Ajmera was appointed to fill the district five vacancy and promised not to run for that seat if she was appointed. She kept her word and earned a seat as an at large member on Tuesday. Dimple is the youngest female to be elected to city council, a CPA by trade, and a proud immigrant.
Mayoral Election Results
The final round of NC’s 2017 municipal elections were held this Tuesday. Most municipal elections in NC are non-partisan. Here are some highlights in addition to the Charlotte election:
- After serving as mayor of Durham since 2001, Bill Bell did not seek reelection this year. A seven-way race was held in October, resulting in a runoff between City Councilman Steve Schewel and former Councilman Farad Ali. With 59.53% of the vote, Schewel was elected to succeed Bell as mayor.
- In the race for mayor of Hickory, Will Locke came out on top in a three-way open race in October, but was defeated by Hank Guess on Tuesday, who secured 51.62% in Tuesday’s runoff.
- In High Point, Bruce Davis, a former Guilford County commissioner, has yet to concede to City Councilman Jay Wagner, who secured 49.98% of the vote, a difference of about 50 votes. Davis said that he will wait until all provisional and mail-in ballots have been counted. The canvassing deadline is tomorrow, November 10.
- William Dusch received 40% of the vote in a five-way race to become mayor of Concord. Dusch is a local business owner who has served a number of positions in Concord.
- In Raleigh, a three-way race in October headed into the city’s first runoff in 16 years. On Tuesday, incumbent Nancy McFarlane received 57.8% of the vote against challenger Charles Francis, to be elected to her fourth term as mayor.
- In Asheville, Mayor Esther Manheimer secured 80.76% of the vote against challenger Martin Ramsey. The city also overwhelmingly voted against creating electoral districts for the city council, with 75.11% of voters opposing the referendum.
- With 55.44% of the vote, Ian Baltutis was elected to his second term as mayor of Burlington against challenger and Mayor-Pro Tem Celo Faucette.
- Kannapolis Mayor Darrell Hinnant secured 67.02% of the vote against challenger Dennis Johnson.
- Town of Wake Forest Mayor Vivian Jones, who has held the seat since 2001, secured 56.84% of the vote against challenger Jim Thompson.
- Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo received 84.64% of the vote against challenger Todd Zola, becoming the city’s longest serving mayor.
- In Fayetteville, three-term Mayor Nat Robertson, a Republican, was defeated by Democrat and City Councilman Mitch Colvin, a Democrat, who secured 59.10% of the vote.
- Ten-term Mayor JB Lawrence was defeated by challenger Charles Sellers in the Town of Blowing Rock with 56.65% of the vote.
- Following a debate over a downtown development proposal in Davidson, challenger Rusty Knox, who led a campaign against the proposal, ousted Mayor John Mercer Woods with 56.63% of the bote.
- By a difference of 9 votes, challenger and political newcomer Marla Thompson ousted incumbent Vernon Moyer and will become the first female mayor of the Town of Long View. Thompson secured 39.4% of the vote in a three-way race.
- In Morrisville, Town Councilman TJ Cowley received 54.25% of the vote to oust incumbent Mayor Mark Stohlman. During his campaign, Cowley criticized Mayor Stohlman for being too concerned with keeping spending down, instead of investing in improvements.
- In Gastonia, Mayor John Bridgeman was defeated by challenger Walker Reid. Reid, a former city council member, received 58.58% of the vote.
- With 54.84% of the vote, newcomer Joe Benson defeated Carolina Beach Mayor Dan Wilson.
To view all election results, click here.