Local Politics

Upsets Mark Cary Mayor, Raleigh Council Races

Posted October 9, 2007 10:43 p.m. EDT
Updated October 10, 2007 8:45 a.m. EDT

— Former Cary Town Councilman Harold Weinbrecht beat out incumbent Mayor Ernie McAlister, while two members of the Raleigh City Council went down to defeat Tuesday night.

Voter turnout in Wake County barely made it out of single digits, with about 11 percent of registered voters casting ballots.

But the votes were enough for Weinbrecht to easily outdistance McAlister in the Cary mayoral race, winning by a 58 to 42 percent margin.

"We were outspent at least 6-to-1, (but) we remained positive through it all and kept to our message," a jubilant Weinbrecht said.

McAlister declined to comment on the results.

In Raleigh, City Councilman Tommy Craven was ousted by challenger Nancy McFarlane, a pharmacist and businesswoman. City Councilwoman Jessie Taliaferro also struggled but appeared to be headed to a November runoff against technology consultant Rodger Koopman.

Meanwhile, incumbents ruled in the Wake County Board of Education races. Only two of five races were contested, and school board member Beverley Clark easily won her race, while former teacher and principal Kevin Hill and school volunteer Martha LaVance will face a November runoff in District 3, where incumbent Carol PArker was not seeking re-election.

Voters in Raleigh and Wake County overwhelmingly approved $275 million in bonds to purchase undeveloped land for parks and greenways and to preserve as open space, to build and renovate libraries and to expand Wake Technical Community College.

Tuesday's election also marked the state's first experiment with an "instant runoff." In the District B race for Cary Town Council, challengers Don Frantz and Vickie Maxwell were locked in a close battle to unseat Councilman Nels Roseland.

In the coming days, elections officials will review the ballots cast for Roseland to see which of the others voters wanted as their second choice if he didn't win. Those votes will then be assigned to Frantz or Maxwell to determine the winner.