Local Politics

McFarlane re-elected; two Raleigh councilmen lose

Posted October 6, 2015 8:14 p.m. EDT
Updated October 7, 2015 6:27 p.m. EDT

— Mayor Nancy McFarlane cruised to her third two-year term on Tuesday, but two incumbent Raleigh City Council members lost their battles for re-election.

McFarlane defeated chiropractor Bob Weltzin, 75 percent to 25 percent, according to unofficial results.

Councilman Eugene Weeks lost to AT&T technical manager Corey Branch in District C, which covers southeast Raleigh, by 52 percent to 47 percent.

"Mr. Weeks is a good man, and he believes in the community, but the community decided to move forward, and we needed someone who was ready and had the energy to do it,” Branch said.

Longtime District B Councilman John Odom also lost. Researcher David Cox won 52 percent to 47 percent in the district, which covers northeast Raleigh.

City Council members Kay Crowder, Bonner Gaylord, Mary-Ann Baldwin and Russ Stephenson easily won re-election, while the three-way race for District A on the City Council, where incumbent Wayne Maiorano didn't seek re-election, was too close to call.

The normally staid municipal election took a nasty turn in the final week when a group called Wake Citizens for Good Government ran television, print and online ads accusing Baldwin and council candidates Matt Tomasulo and Ashton Mae Smith of turning Raleigh into "Drunk Town" because they have generally opposed ordinances that would limit the amount of sidewalk seating downtown and implement a curfew on serving alcohol.

Dean Debnam, the businessman behind Wake Citizens for Good Government, even filed a complaint with the State Board of Elections on Monday, alleging that campaign consultants and a nonprofit backed by a downtown pub owner had crossed legal lines that bar corporate contributions to political campaigns. All of the targets have denied any wrongdoing.

"We have all the drama over the outside dining permits, but it's unfortunate because there is so mouch more going on and downtown is so much more (than) the way it was portrayed," McFarlane said. "I am really, actually looking forward to getting past the election and really getting back focused on the issues important to the city.”

Baldwin was the top voter-getter in the race for two at-large seats on City Council, finishing with 31 percent, according to unofficial results. Stephenson, to whom Debnam has given campaign donations, finished second with 30 percent, while Tomasulo garnered 24 percent and Craig Ralph 14 percent.

Crowder defeated Smith in District D, which covers southwest Raleigh, 62 percent to 38 percent. Gaylord also had an easy re-election, garnering 56 percent of the vote in a three-way race with Edie Jeffreys and DeAntony Collins in District E, which covers northwest Raleigh.

In District A, which covers north Raleigh, a little more than 100 votes separated education consultant J.B. Buxton, businessman Dickie Thompson and public information officer Eddie Woodhouse.

McFarlane, her husband and her campaign contibuted more than $36,000 cash and in-kind donations to the campaigns of Crowder, Thompson, Stephenson, Branch and Gaylord, according to campaign finance records.