Wednesday News: Too close to call?


MCFARLANE LIKELY HEADED TO RUNOFF WITH FRANCIS IN RALEIGH MAYOR'S RACE: Raleigh voters will likely return to the polls next month to elect a mayor. With all precincts reporting, incumbent Mayor Nancy McFarlane leads challenger Charles Francis by about 6,200 votes. But it wasn’t enough to win a majority that is required to avoid the possibility of a runoff Nov. 7. McFarlane won about 48.45 percent of the 52,449 votes cast, while Francis won about 36.67 percent. A third candidate, Paul Fitts, won about 14.76 percent. McFarlane, an unaffiliated candidate who is seeking her fourth two-year term, has won easily in the past, garnering more than 61 percent of the vote in 2011, 72 percent in 2013 and 74 percent in 2015. But this is the first time McFarlane has faced a Democratic challenger. She has been endorsed by the Wake County Democratic Party in previous elections for mayor, but this year the party backed Francis, a registered Democrat.

TRANSPORTATION BONDS GET THUMB'S-UP BY RALEIGH VOTERS: Get ready for orange construction barrels along some of Raleigh's busiest streets. Local voters on Tuesday gave Raleigh officials the green light to issue $206.7 million in bonds to expand some local thoroughfares and pay for other transportation upgrades. With 76 percent of precincts reporting, 73 percent of people voted in favor of the bonds, according to unofficial results. About $142 million of the bond total will be earmarked for widening streets, such as Six Forks Road, Blue Ridge Road, Tryon Road and Atlantic Avenue. Another $6 million would be used to convert Blount and Person streets downtown from one-way to two-way traffic, while $14 million would go to install sidewalks throughout Raleigh. Paying off the bonds, if approved, would add $32 to the annual tax bill on a $250,000 home. About 15 percent of registered local voters cast ballots in the election.

NANCY VAUGHAN DOMINATES PRIMARY IN GREENSBORO MAYORAL RACE: Incumbent Nancy Vaughan and the Rev. Diane Moffett will face each for mayor in the general election after easily emerging from Tuesday's primary. Vaughan, the city's mayor since 2013, came in first by a wide margin with 61.5 percent of the vote. Moffett, pastor of St. James Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, finished a distant second with 21.6 percent. Local businessman John Brown finished third with 16.9 percent, and was eliminated. All results are complete but unofficial until they're certified by the Guilford County Board of Elections. Turnout was anemic. Roughly 8 percent of registered voters cast ballots. On Tuesday night, Vaughan said she was pleased with the results. "I believe it shows that the large majority of voters believe we are headed in the right direction," she said. "I look forward to the general election in November."

IAN BALTUTIS ADVANCES STRONGLY TO NOVEMBER ELECTION FOR BURLINGTON MAYOR: Current Mayor Ian Baltutis and Mayor Pro Tem Celo Faucette are moving forward to the general election as the two mayoral candidates. The third mayoral candidate, Craig Deaton II, was eliminated during the primary election Tuesday, Oct. 10. Baltutis received more than 53 percent of the vote, Faucette had more than 36 percent, and Deaton had more than 10 percent. Baltutis, who spent his evening celebrating at the local Mellow Mushroom, expressed his happiness at the higher voter turnout compared to 2015. “It means that our campaign to get more voters and to get more voters engaged in the election worked,” Baltutis said. “Voter turnout for this primary election was basically double what it was in 2015 for the primary, so that is phenomenal.”

STEVE SCHEWEL AND FARAD ALI WILL FACE OFF IN NOVEMBER FOR DURHAM MAYOR: Schewel finished first in Tuesay’s primary with 12,934 votes or 51.2 percent of the total ballots cast. Ali had 7,359 votes, or 29.1 percent. Schewel is currently an at-large member of Durham’s City Council, and the council would appoint someone to fill the remainder of his term through 2019 if he is elected mayor. “Now that it’s down to two candidates, it definitely changes the dynamic,” Schewel said. Throughout the campaign, he said, he heard from residents how Durham has become too expensive for them. “People want us to stop the negative effects of gentrification,” Schewel said. Ali, chief executive officer of The Institute, a nonprofit that works for minority economic development, had been up since 6 a.m. Tuesday, shaking hands and visiting the polls, he said.