Publisher's note: This post appears here courtesy of the Carolina Journal, and written by Rick Henderson.
Voters in Raleigh, Rocky Mount, and High Point may get another chance to pick a mayor. And Cary voters easily passed bond measures to fund roads and parks.
Those are some of the more notable results from Tuesday's municipal elections. Also, one incumbent Raleigh council member lost a re-election bid, and Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht cruised to another term. All results are unofficial.
For the open seat, former City Council member Mary-Ann Baldwin led attorney Charles Francis 38.2% to 31.2%. Former Wake County Commissioner Caroline Sullivan, who was endorsed by outgoing Mayor Nancy MacFarlane, got 20.5%.
Francis lost a runoff election in 2017 to MacFarlane, 58%-42%.
Both front-runners said Tuesday night they anticipate a runoff.
Incumbent Stef Mendell lost, while Kay Crowder finished a distant second in her contest. Mendell lost to David Knight, 69%-30%. Russ Stephenson - who was elected in 2005 - finished third for an at-large seat, trailing Nicole Stewart and Jonathan Melton. Crowder trailed Saige Martin, 47%-33% in a four-way race. [See Editor's note at the end of this story.]
Stewart won one of the at-large seats. The top two finishers win. But neither Melton (23.1%) nor Stephenson (19.4%) got at least 25% of the vote, so they qualify for a November runoff.
Incumbents David Cox and Corey Branch won new terms. Newcomer Patrick Buffkin also prevailed in a three-way race.
Investment manager Sandy Roberson led TV station owner Bronson Williams, 48%-27% in a four-candidate contest. Roberson won a majority in Nash County, but Williams' vote in the Edgecombe County portion of the city denied Roberson a win.
Incumbent Jay Wagner, who won his current term by 0.5%, led with 44.7% of the vote. Challengers Carlvena Foster and Bruce Davis each had about 28%. At press time, Foster led Davis by 28 votes.
Cary residents easily passed two bond measures, each getting more than 75% support. A $112 million package for the town's parks and recreational facilities. They also backed a $113 million bond referendum for transportation improvements within and without the town's corporate limits. This includes "streets and sidewalks, bridges and overpasses, parking and bicycle facilities, the installation of traffic controls, markers and signals, streetscape improvements."
Both referendums noted "additional taxes" may be needed to repay the bonds.
Runoff elections are set for Nov. 5, when most other municipal elections across the state will take place.
Carolina Journal Fellow Brooke Conrad provided additional reporting for this story.
Editor's note: This story was corrected after publication to note the top two finishers in the Raleigh at-large council race win seats. We regret the error.