Businessman wins tight Fayetteville mayoral race
Posted November 5, 2013
Updated November 6, 2013
Fayetteville, N.C. — Businessman Nat Robertson narrowly defeated City Councilwoman Val Applewhite Tuesday to become Fayetteville's next mayor.
With 95 percent of precincts reporting, Robertson led Applewhite by a 51-49 percent margin, according to unofficial results.
Applewhite said late Tuesday that she will not concede the race until the results are declared official, which will take about a week.
Robertson, who previously served four terms on the Fayetteville City Council, will succeed Mayor Tony Chavonne, who chose not to run for re-election after eight years in office. Robertson lost to Chavonne two years ago.
Applewhite, a real estate agent who led early Tuesday evening as vote totals began rolling in, has served on the City Council for the last six years.
The race generated an unusually high voter turnout for a municipal election, with more than 20 percent of registered voters casting ballots.
"You had two candidates who were polar opposites, one from the other. Even though we had common goals, we had different ways of getting there," Robertson said. "I just appreciate all the support, the folks who saw things our way."
Reducing crime and expanding economic development are Robertson's two priorities. He has talked about targeting high-crime areas with more officers in temporary substations, and he said Fayetteville needs to look at updating its rules and regulations to encourage more business investment in the city.
Applewhite said she is waiting for provisional ballots to be counted before deciding whether to ask for a recount.
"To think that my grassroots campaign – with tens of thousands of fundraising dollars less than my opponent, but heavy in hope and volunteers – could come within 200 votes of winning this election speaks volumes about my vision for Fayetteville and those who believed that I have the leadership and experience to lead our city," she said in a statement.