Local Politics

McFarlane elected Raleigh mayor; bonds pass

Posted October 11, 2011 9:50 p.m. EDT
Updated October 12, 2011 11:05 a.m. EDT

— Two-term City Councilwoman Nancy McFarlane beat out two challengers Tuesday night to become the second female mayor in Raleigh's history.

McFarlane received 61 percent, or 34,424 votes, to succeed Charles Meeker, who chose not to seek a record sixth term. Her opponents, real estate executive Billie Redmond and obstetrician Dr. Randall Williams, received 30 percent and 9 percent of the votes, respectively.

In thanking her supporters, McFarlane said she got the voters' message that things are good in Raleigh and that they want to keep it that way.

"They really are happy with where we are and where we're going," she said. "Mayor Meeker has done an incredible job over the past 10 years."

While she praised Meeker's efforts to revitalize downtown, McFarlane said that she offers a different perspective since she lives outside the Interstate 440 loop around central Raleigh.

"I really want Raleigh to feel like one whole city," she said. "It's important we remember we're a big city, with lots of different neighborhoods with different characteristics. I just want us to embrace that – all of our differences – but also celebrate what we are as Raleigh."

Redmond conceded early Tuesday evening in a campaign that was marked by civility. She said that she, McFarlane and Williams each shared the same passion.

"I will not be discouraged. I'm going to keep doing what I've been doing all 30 years," Redmond said. "I'm going to run my business, and I'm still going to be invested and committed to the community."

Williams agreed.

"I think the thing that's impressed me is that I think all three candidates were in it for the right reason. I think they all just love Raleigh," Williams said.

McFarlane said her priorities include keeping the city's economy thriving and carefully planning for growth. She plans to meet soon with Redmond, who has released an extensive plan to bring more businesses and jobs to Raleigh.

"Small business is really the backbone of our economy, and I think that it's important that we do everything we can to help them," McFarlane said.

Raleigh voters also overwhelmingly approved two bond issues to improve streets and build and renovate affordable housing.

Sixty-two percent of the voters approved a $16 million housing bond, and 67 percent approved a $40 million transportation bond.

The approval of the two bonds will add about $17 a year in property taxes for a median-priced, $188,000 home.

Results of other mayoral races

In Cary, voters re-elected Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, who received 59 percent of the votes. Opponent Michelle Muir received 41 percent.

Primaries set the field for the Nov. 8 elections for mayor in Durham and Fayetteville.

Fayetteville Mayor Tony Chavonne will face challenger Nat Robertson. Chavonne took 54 percent of the vote Tuesday, and Robertson 25 percent in a four-candidate field.

Durham Mayor Bill Bell, who took 81 percent of the vote Tuesday, will face off against challenger Sylvester Williams. Williams had 8 percent of the vote, just 23 votes ahead of Joe Browser, who had 7 percent.