Local News

Raleigh mayor endorses McFarlane to succeed him

Posted October 3, 2011 6:36 a.m. EDT
Updated October 3, 2011 4:15 p.m. EDT

— With Raleigh municipal elections just eight days away, outgoing Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker announced Monday that he is endorsing City Councilwoman Nancy McFarlane to succeed him.

McFarlane is running against real estate executive Billie Redmond and obstetrician Dr. Randall Williams.

"I've been watching this mayor's race very closely, as you can imagine, and Nancy has been running an outstanding campaign, reaching out to all groups, listening to everyone and running a very positive campaign – the kind of campaign the whole community can be proud of," Meeker said, adding that he believes McFarlane is behind the "key issues" of parks and greenways, sustainability and maintaining an active downtown.

All three candidates have said that jobs and the economy are key issues facing the city but have also mentioned the importance of managing growth, transportation, land use and housing.

McFarlane has served on the City Council since 2007. She is a pharmacist and president of Med Pro Rx, a specialty pharmacy focusing on chronic illnesses.

She has touted her work to protect the quality of life and environment in Raleigh as a member of the City Council's comprehensive planning and budget and economic development committees.

She has lived in north Raleigh since 1984, is married and has two daughters and a son.

"I have worked closely with (Meeker) the last four years and really with citizens and neighborhood concerns even before that. To have his faith in me means a great deal," McFarlane said after Meeker's endorsement Monday.

Redmond is chief executive of Coldwell Banker Commercial TradeMark Properties, one of the largest commercial real estate companies in the Triangle. She also is a former chairwoman of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.

She said Monday that she has "tremendous respect for Meeker," even though she did not get his endorsement.

"Mayor Meeker's not on the ballot. He's not running this time, and what's really important (is that) this is a campaign of choices," Redmond said. "The three candidates running for mayor are very, very different – different in leadership style and different in approach to the job of being the mayor."

At a forum in September, Redmond said she would draw on her management experience to lead Raleigh into a mode where the city can grow and create private-sector jobs. She says she would look for new ways to generate funds and focus on the future.

"I love what the city has done recently," she said. "The focus on the debt for me has been about future planning."

Williams, an obstetrician and gynecologist, says he is appreciative of what Meeker has done for the city, but he feels a change is in order.

"I think the situation has changed. I think clearly that Charles and my view of government is probably different. I think Charles is very much more government-centric in terms of planning and growth and all of those things. I would depend much more on the private sector," he said.

At the September forum, Williams said that new revenue should come from people moving to or creating jobs in Raleigh. He said he would make future spending decisions based on each unique circumstance.

"I guess my training as a surgeon is that you take each situation and that you look at the data and make your best assessment," he said.

Early voting ends Saturday. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the voters in the Oct. 11 election, a runoff between the top two finishers will be held Nov. 8.

Meeker announced in April that he would not run for a record sixth term, saying that it’s time for him to pass the baton to a new city leader with new energy and vision.

When he closes out his fifth term as Raleigh’s mayor in December, Meeker will tie the late Avery Upchurch, who served the city from 1983 to 1993, as Raleigh's longest-serving chief executive.