Nov 9, 2017
NC Political Update: 2017 Municipal Election Results
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
By Tricia Cotham
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
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.
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.
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:
, 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.
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
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,
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
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
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
to her fourth term as mayor.
In Asheville, Mayor Esther Manheimer
80.76% of the vote against challenger Martin Ramsey. The city also
creating electoral districts for the city council, with 75.11% of voters
opposing the referendum.
With 55.44% of the vote, Ian Baltutis was
to his second term as mayor of Burlington against challenger and Mayor-Pro
Tem Celo Faucette.
Kannapolis Mayor Darrell Hinnant
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
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
by Democrat and City Councilman Mitch Colvin, a Democrat, who secured
59.10% of the vote.
Ten-term Mayor JB Lawrence was
by challenger Charles Sellers in the Town of Blowing Rock with 56.65%
of the vote.
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
mayor of the Town of Long View. Thompson secured 39.4% of the vote in a
In Morrisville, Town Councilman TJ Cowley received 54.25% of the vote to
oust incumbent Mayor Mark Stohlman. During his campaign, Cowley
Mayor Stohlman for being too concerned with keeping spending down, instead
of investing in improvements.
In Gastonia, Mayor John Bridgeman was
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
Carolina Beach Mayor Dan Wilson.
To view all election results, click