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Raleigh Mayor's Race Pits Odom, Meeker As Adversaries

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RALEIGH, N.C. — In the race to lead the city of Raleigh, a long-time council member is taking on the incumbent mayor.

On Thursday, after Mayor Charles Meeker officially announced his re-election bid, WRAL talked to the two men who want to lead the Capitol City into the future.

Announcing his re-election campaign, Meeker touted a list of accomplishments, from tree preservation, to public participation at City Hall, to development in Southeast Raleigh.

"Two years ago, I challenged the City Council with a 34-point agenda," Meeker said, "26 of which were acted upon favorably by the council."

Meeker said he is ready to tackle some big projects that will shape Raleigh's future. Over the next few years, the city plans to re-open the Fayetteville Street Mall and make decisions about building a new convention center.

"You have to prioritize," Council member John Odom said. "You can't do it all."

Odom, who also serves a deputy mayor, is challenging Meeker for the mayor's seat. Odom owns three car repair shops and heads the Raleigh Merchants Association.

Citing his experience as a small business owner and five-term council member, Odom said he is the best choice to lead Raleigh.

"I think the huge dollars that are going to be spent over the next two or three years is very important," Odom said, "and I think I am better at that than the existing mayor today.

"My skills have been shown in the last two years," Odom said, "and we certainly got those projects going that weren't going anywhere before. I think I'm the one who can finish them off."

Meeker and Odom have been sitting next to each other at the council table for the last two years. Over the next few weeks, the candidates will meet with residents at several community forums over the next few weeks.

On Oct. 7, voters will decide who will sit in the mayor's seat for the next two years.


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