Control of Wake County’s Board of Commissioners changed hands dramatically during Tuesday elections with all four incumbents, including Knightdale’s Joe Bryan went down to defeat.
Bryan lost to a challenger – Sig Hutchinson – well known throughout the county for his support of environmental and land use causes.
With all but one of the county’s precincts reporting, Hutchinson held a 39,000 vote lead, claiming a 55-45 percent margin of victory.
The other three races were decided by similiar margins with challengers John Burns holding off Paul Coble and Jessica Holmes besting Rich Gianni, while Matt Calabria upended Phil Matthews, the sitting board chairman.
The results give Democrats a clean sweep of the Wake County board of commissioners and with sitting commissioners, Democrats will control all seven commissioners’ seats. The sitting board, which included a 4-3 Republican majority, had been criticized for not working closely enough with the Wake County school board, which is controlled by a Democratic majority. Democrats also complained that the Republican-led board had not acted quickly enough to address regional transportation issues.
The results in another key local race are not nearly as clear. In the race for Senate District 18, which includes much of eastern and southeastern Wake County and a portion of Franklin County, icumbent Republican Chad Barefoot holds a 52-48 percent lead – a difference of about 2,100 votes over Democratic challenger Sarah Crawford with just 37 of 55 precincts reporting. In Wake County, where all the precincts have reported, Barefoot’s lead is about 3,100 votes.
But Crawford leads Barefoot in Franklin County by 1,500 votes where vote totals were slow to come in.
That race has been heavily contested for some time with both candidates criticizing the other. Barefoot has cautioned that Crawford would be a shill for her husband’s lobbying clients, while Crawford has claimed that Barefoot is in league with big business concerns and has supported measures that would weaken the environment.