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Voters in Several Triangle Cities Electing Mayors

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RALEIGH — Tuesday, voters in Raleigh will elect a new leader. Monday night, the last-minute push was on to get your vote.

Two city council members are fighting to fill Mayor Tom Fetzer's seat. Pre-election polls show that the race is a dead heat.

With less than seven hours until the polls close, Stephanie Fanjul was on the phone.

"This is going to be way too close. We're going to work for hours -- all through the night -- to make sure we get out the vote," Fanjul said.

Fanjul told voters she is the candidate for change in Raleigh.

"People are really worried about our growth. They want someone who is actually going to do something about it. That means to be sure there is not red mud flowing down the Neuse. That means to be sure we are not stuck in traffic so long. That also means that we've got clean air," said Fanjul.

"I think southeast Raleigh is the next place we need to be making more investments in," said Paul Coble.

On the night before the election, Coble was in his office cool, calm and confident.

"At this point, we feel like we've done everything we can do. It has been nine months of campaigning, and we've put everything into place. We hope we've made all the right decisions," said Coble.

Coble says he is the candidate who will keep Raleigh on a steady course.

"People are happy with Raleigh. We've got a great economy. We're not suffering from the problems that a lot of other towns are. We're on the right course, and we need to keep working on the basics, get those right and keep improving on them," said Coble.

Coble is an insurance broker and six-year city council member. Fanjul is Director of the State Division of Child Development and a two-year city council member.

The mayor seat is up for grabs in several other cities, including Durham, Fayetteville, Cary and Chapel Hill.

In Durham, voters say crime, growth and economic development are the key issues this November.

Pre-election pollsshow voters split along racial lines. Incumbent Mayor Nick Tennyson is the choice of two-thirds of whites voters polled; Council member Floyd McKissick is favored by more than 70 percent of African-American voters.

Dawn Goodman, a black voter, says she thinks Durham's large minority population would be best served by an African-American mayor. "I think Durham has a very large black population that has needs that someone who is not of our nationality may not be able to address because they don't really understand what is going on with us," Goodman said.

Others say race will not play a part in their vote.

Lenora Smith, an African-American voter, said she voted for Nick Tennyson on Tuesday because his record says more than his race. "He's made sure our community has had a voice in some of the things that are happening downtown... and I appreciate that," Smith said.

In Durham, 59 percent of registered voters are white, and 38 percent are black.

Johnston County voters will decide whether or not to support an $80 million bond referendum to help solve rapid school growth problems.

Polls open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m.

If you need to find out where your precinct is, call your countyBoard of Electionsfor information.

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Doug Bricker, Photographer
John Clark, Web Editor

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