Local Politics

Cline wins Durham DA race

Posted May 3, 2008 7:01 p.m. EDT
Updated January 5, 2009 3:23 p.m. EST

— Tracey Cline won the race for Durham district attorney Tuesday night, according to North Carolina State Board of Elections' results.

Cline, a sex crimes prosecutor in Durham for more than a decade, won with 46 percent – 29,810 – of the vote. She received more than 40 percent of the vote, so there was no need for a runoff.

“I’d like to live up to all my expectations. I think it's (the criminal justice system)at a point in Durham County...where we can do a lot of good working together and I’m ready for that challenge," Cline said Tuesday night.

No Republicans sought the position, so Cline will run uncontested in November.

Previously, Cline worked as an assistant district attorney under former District Attorney Mike Nifong, who sought for nearly a year to prosecute three former Duke University lacrosse players who were eventually cleared of charges of rape, sexual assault and kidnapping.

Barry Saunders, a political columnist with the News and Observer, said Cline's victory showed voters are concerned about current issues in the county, including probation problems and crime.

“People are ready to move onto that and forget about the debacle with Nifong,” Saunders said. “I think we’re ready to move on and tackle the other serious issues in Durham that have nothing to do with Nifong and lacrosse.”

Freda Black, a former Durham prosecutor whom Nifong dismissed after 14 years of service, was second with 34 percent – 21,834 votes.

Keith Bishop, with no ties to the office or Nifong, had 13 percent – 8,095 – of the vote.

Mitchell Garrell, who also worked as an assistant district attorney under Nifong, had 7 percent – 4,337 – of the vote.