Dems sweep GOP off Wake Board of Commissioners
Posted November 4, 2014
Updated November 5, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — Democrats will hold all seven seats on the Wake County Board of Commissioners, starting next month, after all four Republican commissioners lost their bids for re-election on Tuesday.
Republicans have held a 4-3 edge on the board in recent years, leading to partisan votes and some bitter feelings on issues such as education funding and support for mass transit.
Democrats Sig Hutchinson, Matt Calabria, Jessica Holmes and John Burns each captured about 55 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results, defeating longtime Commissioners Joe Bryant and Paul Coble, board Chairman Phil Matthews and Rich Gianni, who joined the board earlier this year.
The four Democrats ran as a bloc under the "More with Four" banner, and they promised a more upbeat tone for the board, which has bickered with the Wake County Board of Education in recent years over control of schools, and movement on a mass transit proposal.
"We all sort of bring a very different skill set to the table, not to mention I think we all come form a very good place of caring about teachers and education in particular," Holmes said. "So, we have passions in common, like moving forward on transit, creating a positive relationship for our school board, and I think that's going to distinguish us from the current board."
The Republicans touted their experience and predicted a Democratic majority on the board would lead to higher taxes.
"It’s a big deal because it’s a mandate," Burns said of the Democratic sweep. "It's an absolutely sweeping mandate to do things about public schools, to work very carefully in collaboration with the public school board, to serve our public schools to fully fund our public schools and to move forward on education."