Local Politics

Businessman wins tight Fayetteville mayoral race

Posted November 5, 2013
Updated November 6, 2013

Fayetteville Mayor Nat Robertson
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— 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.

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  • baldchip Nov 6, 2013

    Ms Appelwhite tried to buy the election sending voters to polling places in limos and buying them lunch!! No thanks!!

    Maybe Fayetteville will get some clean up!! It needs it!!

  • lopo Nov 6, 2013

    I was hoping Applewhite would have won, then we could sit back and watch Fayetteville go down the drain. More crime and more families (tax payers) moving to other counties.

  • nccrew Nov 6, 2013

    Talking trash by the victors. That's southern politics for ya!

    You know Sherlock, that is an interesting statement to make; but she consistently bucked the NAACP when they were "gunning" for the Fayetteville Police. She stood by the police and did not cave to political expediency.
    But if you check with Fayetteville's history, you won't find the other candidate supporting the police...

    Sort of ironic that your assumptions got it wrong, did you make assumptions in the ballot box?

  • jgilchr Nov 6, 2013

    Only 20% turnout? That is abysmal.

  • Sherlock Nov 6, 2013

    Applewhite will call in the NAACP to have a recount, she will not let this one go.

  • daisy Nov 6, 2013

    That was a close race. I am glad out of the two choices, Robertson won. I couldn't vote in this election but I work in Fayetteville so I am effected by it.

  • pappy1 Nov 6, 2013

    This race isn't over. Across Fayetteville, vehicles are being scoured in a search for "lost ballots."