Local News

Durham's Bell Elected To Third Term As Mayor; Pitts Loses In Fayetteville

Posted November 8, 2005 9:19 a.m. EST

— Voters in 19 counties in central North Carolina went to the polls Tuesday, choosing local leaders and voting on various issues. In the most high-profile races, mayors in Durham and Chapel Hill were easily re-elected, but bitterness about annexation in Fayetteville caused the incumbent to lose.

In Fayetteville, incumbent Mayor Marshall Pitts Jr., who was seeking a third term, lost to challenger Tony Chavonne, with Chavonne getting about 55 percent of the vote.

Chavonne appeared to win as a result of a contentious annexation issue that played out in Fayetteville for many months. In the newly annexed areas, Chavonne beat Pitts overwhelmingly -- with one precinct voting 177 to 9 for Chavonne.

"I'm excited," Chavonne said. "It's been a long trip ... our citizens have spoken and I'm glad they have chosen me as their mayor."

Chavonne said he would focus on extending city services to newly annexed residents.

"We'll go out tomorrow and try to pull this city together," Chavonne said.

A pair of two-term mayors in Chapel Hill and Durham easily won re-election.

In Durham, incumbent William Bell cruised to a third term with nearly 90 percent of the vote against challenger Jonathan Alston, who also lost to Bell in the 2003 primary and general election and trailed Bell in the October primary. In Chapel Hill, Kevin Foy won a third-term against Kevin Wolff with more than 70 percent of the votes.

A Durham council member, John Best, who faced legal troubles with alimony payments lost his seat after struggling in the primary election. In Ward 3, Best lost to Mike Woodard, who received more than 70 percent of the vote.

In Wake County, two of the biggest races were runoffs for the school board. In District 9, Eleanor Hill Goetee beat Curt Stangler, and in District 1, Lori Millberg defeated Tillie Turlington.

The future of reassignment was possibly at stake in those two school board races. The North Carolina Association of Educators expect Goetee and Millberg to stay the course on addressing growth and diversity through reassignment. If they had lost, the board could have changed direction.

An education tax issue in Orange County was soundly defeated with nearly 80 percent of voters deciding they did not want a special school tax.

There were 255 races in 19 counties, of which most people are running unopposed.