Local Politics

Longtime Garner mayor headed to defeat

Posted November 5, 2019 10:45 p.m. EST
Updated November 5, 2019 10:46 p.m. EST

— Mayor Ronnie Williams, who has led Garner for 14 years, appears to have lost his longtime post.

With 86 percent of precincts reporting, Williams was running third in a four-person race Tuesday night.

Town Councilman Ken Marshburn led the field, with 39 percent of the vote, followed by Mona Parks at 23 percent, Williams at 21 percent and Charles Dingee at 18 percent, according to unofficial results.

Williams' tenure has been marked by tragedy and triumph.

A natural gas explosion leveled the ConAgra Foods plant in Garner in June 2009, killing four people. ConAgra later closed the plant rather than trying to restart production of Slim Jims there and gave the property to the town.

Amazon expects to open a massive distribution hub on the site next year, employing more than 1,000 people.

Williams also led the fight against a state Department of Transportation proposal to run a section of the N.C. Highway 540 toll road through the middle of Garner. The DOT ultimately chose another route for the planned highway.

A familiar face will be joining the Garner Town Council, as former Wake County commissioner won one of the three seats up for grabs.