Local News

Runoff Set for Raleigh Mayoral Race

Posted October 12, 2001 11:49 a.m. EDT

— Mayor Paul Coble will face a Nov. 6 runoff against former councilman Charles Meeker, according to election results certified Friday that show Coble failed to win enough votes Tuesday for an outright victory.

The Wake County Board of Elections said the results of the nonpartisan election showed Coble edging Meeker 49.15 percent to 47.65 percent - a difference of 587 votes out of 39,227 cast. To avoid the runoff, a candidate needed 50 percent of the vote plus one.

A third candidate, IBM Corp. executive Joel Cornette, received 1.96 percent of the vote. Write-in candidates received 1.25 percent.

The elections board, which on Thursday counted 410 provisional ballots and tallied several dozen write-ins and other leftover ballots, certified the results Friday.

Provisional ballots are cast mainly by people who moved to new precincts but did not notify the elections board.

The final count varied little from the unofficial results Tuesday night, which gave Coble 49.2 percent to Meeker's 47.6 percent.

The recount went smoother than last year, when board members counted and recounted a record 9,300 provisional ballots, delaying declared winners in a Wake commissioner and a Wake district judge race for two weeks.

Voter turnout was light Tuesday, with about 19.6 percent of the city's registered voters going to the polls.

Growth was the major issue in the race, with Meeker and Cornette blaming Coble for heavy traffic and development that has chewed up most of the ground between the city's core and its boundaries.

Coble, 47, a Republican, countered that he has promoted widening roads and supported adding hundreds of acres of parks and greenways to the city.

Raleigh, with 276,093 residents, was the nation's 40th fastest-growing city among those with a population of 100,000 or more, according to the 2000 Census.

Meeker, a Democrat who served on the city council from 1985 to 1989 and from 1991 to 1995, said he would welcome more growth and development as long as it's managed better than it has been.

Meeker, 51, is a Republican lawyer and has run for mayor twice before, losing in 1989 to Avery Upchurch and finishing third behind Coble and Stephanie Fanjul in 1999.