Durham Voters To Narrow Down Field of Five for Mayor
Posted September 30, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT
DURHAM — Five Durham residents are competing to lead the Bull City into the next millenium, and they will face off Oct. 5 in a primary election.
Growth and traffic are key issues in every election in the Triangle, but Durham voters are also putting crime at the top of their agenda.
Five candidates think they can solve those problems in Durham, but after the primary, only two of them will still be in the running.
Durhampoll workers are picking up equipment and ballots to take to their precincts for Tuesday's election.
Voters will go to the polls to narrow down a crowded field of candidates for mayor.
"We had five candidates file for mayor, so we'll take the top two vote getters in that race and take them to the general election in November," said Carol Booth, elections director.
The candidates are incumbent mayor Nick Tennyson, city council members Floyd McKissick and Brenda Burnette, novelist Michael Peterson and realtor Ralph McKinney.
Growth and traffic were hot topics at a recent forum. Many voters also want answers about the city's crime rate.
"The statistics (about crime) aren't out yet, so it's hard to answer that," said David Smith of Friends of Durham.
Some candidates may also face questions about credibility. McKissick was criticized for attending a Harvard alumni event on the taxpayers' dime.
Burnette was evicted from her home for not paying rent. Peterson admitted he was not truthful about a Vietnam War injury.
Some observers believe the hotly contested race will encourage voters to get involved.
"One of the big problems with local politics is apathy. People don't know what's going on, and they don't vote. It's positive to have this much energy," said Smith.
Voters will also narrow down the field for at-largecity councilcandidates. Seven are running.
The top six vote-getters will appear on the November ballot.