Local Politics

Candidates expect tight race for Fayetteville mayor

Posted October 28, 2015

— Two years ago, fewer than 300 votes separated the two people vying to be Fayetteville mayor. Both candidates are back this year, and both forecast a similarly tight finish next Tuesday.

Mayor Nat Robertson said he hopes to turn his 600-vote victory in the Oct. 6 primary election into a second term in office.

"We are absolutely not overconfident. In fact, we're working harder today than we did a week ago, than we did a month ago," Robertson said. "I believe this is going to be a very close election."

Val Applewhite knows that better than anyone. The former City Council member won the 2013 primary, but lost to Robertson in the general election by 260 votes.

This year, Robertson has out-raised and outspent Applewhite by an 8-to-1 margin.

"With limited resources, you have to be stratigic about what you do," Applewhite said. "The mayor spent a lot of money for the primary – several mailers went out – and I made a phone call. The return on that (call) was 600 votes."

Robertson is running on his record, and he said a second term would allow him to fine-tune his future vision of the city.

"Under my leadership, with this council, we've done some amazing things. We built the first swimming pool in the community since 1948. We've expanded our bus routes. We're now coordinating routes with Fort Bragg and Hoke County and Spring Lake," he said. "We've just started to see the vision, and the vision is a safer city, a better quality of life."

Applewhite said she's running a grassroots campaign. If elected, she said, her first term would focus young people.

"There seems to be a belief that swimming pools alone will save our youth," she said. "I say it's more than that. I say it's internships, it's job opportunities, it's mental health opportunities."

There is no hot-button issue in Fayetteville to motivate people to vote next week, and both candidates said they know at this point it's about lighting a fire to get their supporters out to the polls.


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