Weinbrecht wins in Cary; incumbents top council races

andy.kenney@newsobserver.comOctober 11, 2011 

With all precincts reporting, incumbent Harold Weinbrecht had 58.4 percent of the vote in the Cary mayor's race to win re-election over Michelle Muir, who had 41.5 percent.

In Cary Town Council races:

— In District B, incumbent Councilman Don Frantz won with 62.1 percent of the vote. Challenger Jeff Fox had 37.8 percent.

— In District D, incumbent Gale Adcock carried 65.6 percent of the vote to defeat challenger Don Hyatt, who had 34 percent.

— In the at-large race, with all 37 precincts reporting, Lori Bush had 55.8 percent of the vote, while Zeke Bridges had 44 percent.

The election was a chance to reshape the Town Council and install a new majority. Democrat Weinbrecht faced a strong challenge from Republican Muir, a member of each party vied in close contest for an open seat, and two incumbent council members faced limited campaigns from challengers.

The seven-member council has been split between Democrats and Republicans since Democrat Erv Portman left for a seat on the Wake County Board of Commissioners this year, but tonight's elections could tip the scales, unless the unaffiliated Jeff Foxx succeeds in his unfunded challenge of Republican Don Frantz.

The three incumbents, including Weinbrecht, argued that they had maintained surpluses even as the economic downturn choked off revenue growth, and they pointed to the government's new investment in downtown. They said they had led the town through four successful but treacherous years and pointed to their experience as an asset.

The non-incumbents took different tacks, but most agreed that Cary was in good financial health. Instead of calling for a broad change of direction, four of the five campaigned on their personal strengths and leadership styles while offering tweaks and improvements for the town.

Muir, challenger for the mayor's seat, argued that she would be a more available and effective ambassador for the town, saying she would take on the task full time as the town's first female mayor. She also called for more active cultivation of business and greater fiscal restraint.

She portrayed herself as the more conservative candidate, at times embracing the GOP and generally emphasizing private investment over government involvement. But her chief criticism was not about politics; she focused on the idea that Weinbrecht's full-time job limited his involvement in the town, which Weinbrecht disputed.

Zeke Bridges and Lori Bush, candidates for the vacant at-large seat, often vied for the same positions. Bridges, a Republican and head of a local law firm, said he was a fiscal conservative with business acumen. But Bush, a Democrat and a project manager for Cisco Systems, said she was the same.

Bush made environmentalism a large plank of her platform, but Bridges said he, too, would protect the environment. The two did seem to split on growth, with Bridges calling for cuts on fees for custom home builders and Bush cautioning against excessive growth.

But only one candidate, Don Hyatt, challenger to District D council member Gale Adcock, made an entire platform of growth issues. He said that the town's growth rate, which has slowed year over year, could become dangerously lethargic. He said Cary had to embrace new growth to guarantee future revenue.

Jeff Foxx, an unaffiliated challenger, argued that he would be more connected to residents. He mounted a largely unfunded campaign against District B member Don Frantz. Frantz said he'd been a good leader to his constituency and the town as a whole.

Kenney: 919-460-2608

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service