So, Mayor Nancy has officially been elected to her third term as Mayor of Raleigh, beating out challenger Robert "Dr. Bob" Weltzin, with 75 percent of the vote.
Mary-Ann Baldwin and Russ Stephenson will keep their at-large seats, with 31.1 and 30.3 percent of the votes respectively. They beat newcomer Matt Tomasulo (he got 24.4 percent of the vote) and seasoned challenger Craig Ralph (he got 13.9 percent of the vote).
It looks like there will be a runoff election in District A, between candidates Dickie Thompson (the Mayor's preference) and Edwin "Eddie" Woodhouse who are separated by about 50 votes. Challenger JB Buxton got 32.55 percent of the vote, while Thompson and Woodhouse got 33.9 and 33.3 respectively.
In District B, it looks like David Cox has unseated the incumbent, John Odom. It was a close race (it appears to have come down to 237 votes) but Cox appears to have won with 52.3 percent of the vote to Odom's 47.3 percent.
Surprise in District C! Challenger Corey Branch appears to have unseated incumbent Eugene Weeks, with 52.2 percent of the vote to Weeks' 47.4 percent.
In District D, incumbent Kay Crowder easily hung on to her seat over newcomer Ashton Mae Smith, winning 62 percent of the vote to Smith's 37.6 percent.
And in District E, incumbent Bonner Gaylord kept his seat, with 55.6 percent of the vote. Newcomers Edie Jeffreys and DeAntony Collins got 36.7 percent and 7.6 percent of the vote.
As of 10 p.m. Tuesday, 149 of 150 Wake County precincts were reporting. These percentages are subject to change; check back with this blog for updates.
To try to get a feel for what’s going on on the ground in Raleigh’s City Council races this Election Day, we checked out the polling place for each of the 18 candidates for City Council and the Mayor’s seat. This took all day and took us all over the city (and even into another city. Well, town. And no, that wasn't DrunkTown.)
First, some general observations:
Not a lot of young people at the polls
: This kinda makes sense. I arrived at the first precinct at 11 a.m., and left the last one at 5:30. I’m guessing all the younger folks were either at work, at school or they live closer to Raleigh’s inner core. Or maybe they voted early. And if they didn’t, they’re scrambling off to vote right now as I type. Or, exhausting all other possibilities, they don’t care.
Turnout is low, which is normal
: This was the general report from the precinct judges I spoke to. Most of them said that turnout was on track at 10 percent—typical during a local election year—and the precincts that were doing well were looking at getting maybe 13 to 14 percent of voters. I recorded how many people had voted at each stop by the time I got there. Typically, only 3-5 people were in the gym, or cafeteria, or church or what have you when I showed up; but again, this all changes after 5 p.m. when people leave their jobs and head to the polls en masse.
We have no idea who will win the City Council elections
: When I could find someone to speak to, voters’ picks were all across the board. People said they were voting for each candidate running, at least once. Let that sink in. Let’s just hope the majority
of Raleigh voters made the right choices.
After half an hour of driving, I arrive in the precinct of Dr. Bob Weltzin, Nancy McFarlane’s challenger for Mayor. This polling location is on Durham Road in Wake Forest, though Weltzin apparently lives in super-duper-north North Raleigh. I get lost in a subdivision and circle around a strip mall parking lot before I figure out the voting place is in the back of a Ninth Grade Learning Center—Wakefield North— in said strip mall. No one is voting in the center’s massive gymnasium when I arrive. One of the volunteers tells me “it’s been a little slow since we opened at 6:30 this morning.” No sign of Dr. Bob. I check the ballot machine to see the number of votes counted: 46
Next stop on the tour is the Bedford at Falls River clubhouse. This is David Cox’s precinct; he’s running for the District B seat. I am not a huge fan of subdivisions, but the Bedford at Falls River neighborhood is actually stunning. The houses are all big and new and the landscaping is immaculate. There was a pretty awesome clubhouse—voting location— and a super sweet pool that I spent some time admiring. So, there are groups of retirees streaming in and out of the clubhouse consistently. I chat with some retired couples who all voted for Cox. “We have serious problems in District B,” one of the husbands tells me, though he doesn’t elaborate. Then the precinct judge tells me to get out of the buffer area where there’s not supposed to be any campaigning. I chat with a man and a woman from the Wake County Democrats who have a table outside the clubhouse. The man says he doesn’t think turnout this election is good, because Raleigh citizens are just complacent. “Don’t you think David Cox is turning people out,” I ask him. “We think he’s doing well,” the man replies. Number of votes counted: 249
.: I arrive at the next District B polling location, in John Odom’s precinct—it’s in a community center on Green Road. I speak with a woman who’s working the polls and a man volunteering for Cox’s campaign. To the left of them, there’s an empty chair where a volunteer—who, they tell me, is actually paid by Odom—had been sitting before I arrived. They explain that this is a predominantly African American precinct. They also tell me Odom was here at 6:30 this morning to vote. But inside, no one’s voting; several people, however, are using the gym next door. Number of votes counted: 76.
I took a break here to take my dog to the vet. I got to Mayor Nancy’s polling place, Root Elementary School on Northampton Street, at
Lots of kids playing outside, 2 people voting inside. I ask the poll volunteer if the turnout has been high or low this year. “A little low,” he says, “but it will be different next year!” Right, because President. As I’m leaving, I see at-large candidate Craig Ralph and his wife, standing and waiting to greet the next voter to walk in. Number of votes counted: 247
: I get to Edwin “Eddie” Woodhouse’s polling place in District A—Fire Station #17. I see a couple of retired folks leaving, count a couple Woodhouse bumper stickers. I ask one gentleman in the parking lot who he voted for, and it’s all the Republicans. This must be a conservative precinct. I speak with Elaine, the precinct judge, and she says turnout has been lower than normal this year too; the fire station is empty. Number of votes counted: 150
I arrive at District E candidate DeAntony Collins’ polling place, Stough Elementary, a long, brown-brick building. Walking in, I chat with a volunteer for Matt Tomasulo’s campaign and he tells me it’s been a steady, one-in, one-out situation. He’s in good spirits and said people have been happy to take the Matt flyers he’s handing out. Inside, the precinct judge is totally unfriendly; she scowls at me as I ask to see how many people have voted and won’t let me look at the machine myself. I hurry up and leave. Number of votes counted: 320
The leafy, secluded community center off of Creedmoor Road, the polling place for District A candidate Dickie Thompson, has gone all out for its candidate and neighbor. Thompson signs line the entrance to the polling site on either side of the street. I speak with a middle-aged woman who’s just voted; she supported the Mayor and Thompson, Stephenson and MAB at-large. Not too many more people inside, but Linda, the precinct judge, tells me she thinks the precinct is “doing well,” compared to some of the others. She expects to poll at 13-14 percent, she told me. “It’s a pretty day, so people can’t use the weather as an excuse not to vote,” she says. Touche, Linda. Number of votes counted: 286
I roll up at District A candidate JB Buxton’s polling place, the Eastgate Park Community Center on Quail Hollow Road. Everywhere is starting to look the same, (low, brown), and a bunch of high school kids are messing around outside. I can’t find any voters to speak with me. Number of votes counted: 302
I arrive at District E incumbent Bonner Gaylord’s voting location at Kiwanis Park on Noble Road. There’s a lot of traffic, which seems exciting at first, but I realize I got mixed in with an elementary school pick-up line. Outside, a volunteer working for Gaylord’s challenger, Edie Jeffreys, says he’s seen a lot of support for her today. “I think she’s got a genuine shot, at least at coming to a runoff,” he says. In the hallway, I speak with a woman holding a baby, and her friend; they voted Gaylord. The precinct judge says he’s very happy with turnout, and that the Wake County Board of Elections, who he’s just reported to, is also happy with turnout. Number of votes counted: 263
: Edie Jeffrey’s polling place, Our Savior Lutheran Church on Glenwood, is quiet, though it’s also kind of difficult to access. I check the vote count and leave. Number of votes counted: 207
At-large incumbent Councilor Russ Stephenson and at-large challenger Craig Ralph share a precinct and both vote at the Brooks Avenue Church of Christ. The church is quieter than the one before—only 3 or so people there voting. Number of votes counted: 253
I drive out to the western end of Hillsborough Street, where the two District D candidates live (and vote.) Ashton Mae Smith’s polling location off of Royal Street, Freedom Temple Church—not sure if church or temple—is surrounded by what looks to be student and low-income housing. Some college-age-looking guys lingering outside say they’ve voted for Ashton. But this is the lowest-turnout precinct yet. Number of votes counted: 120
I’m in District D incumbent Kay Crowder’s precinct, and it is Crowder country for sure. It seems like every house I drove by, from Melbourne Road to Kaplan Drive to Combs Magnet Elementary on Lorimer—the polling location—had a Crowder sign in its yard. But there’s hardly anyone in the little elementary school cafeteria. Number of votes counted: 289
: I got on I-40 East and drove all the way around to Rock Quarry Road, in District C. Southeast Raleigh High School is incumbent Eugene Weeks’ polling location. Weeks’ challenger, Corey Branch, is there greeting voters. Branch says he’s feeling good about his chances this election, though he’s disappointed in the low turnout at Southeast. I ask him if he’s hosting a watching party. “It’s been a long day,” he says. “I’ll be watching from the couch.” Number of votes counted: 141
I headed over to Branch’s precinct, and his polling place, the Abundant Life Christian Center off of Poole Road—it’s pretty empty too, though I got handed a Weeks flyer on my way in. I ask a retiree who he voted for, and he tells me Eugene Weeks, MAB and Mayor Nancy. Number of votes counted: 141.
: At-large candidate Matt Tomasulo’s precinct is my second to last stop. It’s the Roberts Park Community Center on East Martin Street, just beyond the beautiful Raleigh National Cemetery. Another quiet place, and I don’t find anyone to speak with besides campaigners. Number of votes counted: 231
I weave through the streets lined with all the spookily-decorated Oakwood houses to my last stop on this precinct tour. It’s at-large incumbent Mary-Ann Baldwin’s precinct and she votes at the Trinity United Methodist Church on Bloodworth Street, off of North Person (old INDY
neighbor, Love Wins Ministries, also shares this building). Oakwoodians, apparently, care as much about voting as they do about celebrating Halloween. The street is jammed with parked cars and pedestrians, and I have to park two blocks away on Sasser. There’s a longish line inside, and I chat with some folks before checking the vote counter. Lots of support for Matt, the Mayor and MAB; no clear preference for District C. Number of votes counted: 637.
That’s the last stop on my tour. Check back with the INDY’s
blog for election results!
And remember everyone, around this time last year Thom Tillis was elected to the U.S. Senate. Be assured that nothing that happens in Raleigh this evening will even begin approach that level of tragedy.