Raleigh, N.C. — Mayor Nancy McFarlane outdistanced two challengers Tuesday to claim a second two-year term to lead Raleigh.
With about 98 percent of votes counted, McFarlane topped political newcomer Robert Weltzin by 73 percent to 22 percent. Venita Peyton, who was making her third run at the mayor's seat, trailed with 5 percent.
McFarlane has focused her campaign on building toward Raleigh's future, spending as much time stumping for passage of the city's $75 million transportation bond issue as on her own re-election.
Voters also handily approved the bond referendum, which will pay to widen and upgrade more than a dozen Raleigh thoroughfares.
"The community understands the need to invest in our infrastructure and really keep us where we are," McFarlane said.
An upbeat McFarlane thanked supporters Tuesday night and urged them to get involved in building Raleigh's future, saying the city needs to remain on the top of national lists of the best places to live and work.
"We just have so many great things happening in the city of Raleigh," she said.
She said she hopes to resolve the dispute with the state over the future of the former Dorothea Dix property in her next term.
The city negotiated a lease for the 325-acre site south of downtown last year, but state lawmakers pushed to void the lease, saying the state didn't get a fair deal and that at least part of the land needed to be reserved for Department of Health and Human Services offices. McFarlane and Gov. Pat McCrory reached a deal to renegotiate the lease by next April.
"Everyone sees the property as a park, central not only to Raleigh but the state," she said.
McFarlane also said Raleigh and Wake County need to move forward on regional transit and consider giving voters a chance to approve a local sales tax increase to help pay for it.
"Orange and Durham counties already had their referendum," she said. "They're moving ahead and planning, and we need to get on board because we're going to grow not just as Raleigh – we need to think about the power of the Triangle."
In Raleigh City Council races, incumbents John Odom, Eugene Weeks and Thomas Crowder won re-election by sizable margins. Councilman Bonner Gaylord was unopposed.
At-large council members Mary-Ann Baldwin and Russ Stephenson also appeared headed for re-election.
Councilman Randy Stagner was losing a tight race to challenger Wayne Maiorano, a Raleigh lawyer, by 51 percent to 49 percent.