Election Day Rewards Many Incumbent NC Mayors, But Not All

Nov 7, 2017

Updated 8:51 a.m. November 11, 2017

In Raleigh, unaffiliated incumbent Nancy McFarlane won a fourth term as mayor of the state's capital city.

With all 108 precincts reporting Tuesday, unofficial returns showed McFarlane has 57 percent of the vote, while Democratic challenger Charles Francis has 42 percent.

The election was necessitated after neither candidate captured a majority of the votes in October's general election. Francis finished second and called for the runoff.

In Greensboro, Mayor Nancy Vaughan won a third term over challenger Diane Moffett. In Asheville, Esther Manheimer claimed victory over Martin Ramsey in that city’s mayoral race. Wilmington incumbent Bill Saffo earned a fifth term in office. But, in Fayetteville, challenger Mitch Colvin defeated two-term incumbent Nat Robertson.

City Councilman Steve Schewel was elected mayor of Durham with 59 percent of the vote, compared to 40 percent for Fared Ali. Schewel succeeds Bill Bell, who decided not to seek re-election after 16 years in office. Bell backed Ali after the October primary.

And in Charlotte, a nearly 30-year veteran of local government was the definitive choice of voters on Tuesday and she will become the first African-American woman to run North Carolina's largest city.

Vi Lyles, Charlotte's mayor pro tem, sent out a Twitter post saying "We are victorious!" With most of the city's 168 precincts reporting unofficial returns, Lyles had 58 percent of the vote, compared to 41 percent for City Councilman Kenny Smith.

Lyles continues a run of Democratic mayors elected to the post after Pat McCrory finished his final term in 2009. Her path to the mayor's office included victory over incumbent Jennifer Roberts in the Democratic primary in October.

According to the biography on the city's webpage, Lyles worked for the City of Charlotte for almost 30 years, starting off as an analyst in the city's budget department before becoming budget director. She was assistant city manager for the city from 1996 to 2004.