HILLSBOROUGH — Former Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton edged out incumbent Deborah Brooks to become the next Orange County Register of Deeds on Tuesday.
Chilton, who was celebrating with supporters at Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, said he felt “pretty good” about the results but wouldn’t trust them until the final count.
He had 6,682 votes to Brooks’ 6,135 votes. Challenger Sara Stephens had 2,893 votes.
The race garnered state and national interest when Chilton said he wanted to challenge North Carolina’s same-sex marriage laws. All three candidates are Democrats, which leaves the winner unopposed in the Nov. 2 election.
Chilton announced earlier this year that, if elected, he would violate state law and the Register of Deeds’ oath of office by issuing same-sex marriage licenses. Doing so could bring misdemeanor charges and removal from office.
The real estate attorney said Article 1 and Article 6 of the N.C. Constitution, which includes the oath of office, defer to the U.S. Constitution when there are conflicts. Chilton said he would stop if a court orders it.
Brooks and Stephens had said they would not violate the oath of office.
(numbers for races not limited to Orange County are contest-wide totals)