CARY — The hugs Jennifer Robinson received from voters outside the polls at Carpenter Elementary early Tuesday morning were a sign of more praise to come for three incumbent Cary Town Council candidates.
Robinson beat out businessman Karl Thor with nearly 60 percent of the vote to continue representing western Cary in District A. Jack Smith, a 24-year representative of southeastern Cary in District C, coasted to a win over Deborah Pugh with 70 percent of the vote. And Ed Yerha won an uncontested race for the at-large seat to which council members appointed him in August 2012.
The vote is a reflection that people are happy with the town of Cary and trust us to address the problems they see in the town, Robinson said Tuesday night.
Robinson and Smith pointed to low rancor and low fundraising numbers the four candidates combined hadnt eclipsed the $10,000 mark by the end of September in forecasting their wins. Their challengers also seemed to lack a hot-button issue on which to base their challenges.
Pugh and Thor laid broad anti-establishment platforms and hoped to build support using familiar rhetoric: that council members are encouraging an urban sprawl that conflicts with the towns character.
For some residents, such as Morton Berkowitz, their message rang true. Tuesday morning, he confronted Robinson about the councils recent decision to apply for a federal loan on behalf of a hotel developer in downtown Cary.
When can we vote on another hotel? How about a theater? Berkowitz said to Robinson as he walked into Carpenter Elementary to vote.
But most Cary voters didnt share the anti-council sentiment.
Karissa Binkley, for one, cited Carys property tax rate 35 cents per $100 in assessed value, one of the lowest in Wake County as one of several reasons shes pleased with Robinson in District A.
There arent vacant shopping centers and they seem to be doing well handling more growth, the New Jersey native said. Theres a reason people are still moving here.
At Piney Plains Church in Cary, a polling place in District C, Don Holquist had similar views of Smith.
Holquist said he agreed with Pughs platform of slowing down development. Nonetheless, he voted for Smith because he couldnt name a controversial vote the councilman cast affecting his neck of the woods.
Lots of times, your average voter, like me, votes against something instead of voting for something, Holquist said. I guess you could say he hasnt offended enough people.
Specht: 919-460-2608; Twitter: @AndySpecht