Political newcomer Wayne Maiorano defeated incumbent District A City Councilman Randy Stagner on Tuesday, while all other Raleigh City Council members and Mayor Nancy McFarlane won another term.
Stagner finished just 250 votes behind Maiorano, with 12,300 ballots cast in their North Raleigh district.
The race saw countless attack ads and more than $100,000 in fundraising. Maiorano criticized Stagner’s leadership on a variety of issues, including the firing of longtime City Manager Russell Allen. Stagner fired back, claiming that Maiorano is a “developer’s lawyer.”
But Maiorano, a former Marine and construction attorney, said he won by getting to know the residents in his district. “We knew that our hard work would pay off,” he said, taking a break from a victory party at the North Raleigh Hibernian Pub. “The folks that showed me the most support recognized that we needed selfless leadership, someone that was going to put the interests of the city first.”
Stagner could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.
In other races, McFarlane easily secured a second term as mayor. Her challengers, Republicans Venita Peyton and Robert Weltzin, struggled to raise money against the well-financed incumbent who garnered more than $160,000 for her re-election bid.
Weltzin, who argued that the city spends too much money on parks and arts, came in second. Thanks in part to an endorsement from the Wake County Republican Party, he got 21 percent of the vote.
The races for two at-large seats weren’t close, either. Longtime incumbents Mary-Ann Baldwin and Russ Stephenson won by large margins. Their opponents – recent Wake Tech graduate Jason Spriggs and St. David’s School technology director Rob Williams – also raised little money and had low-profile campaigns.
Three district council seats saw similar results. The council’s lone Republican, John Odom, beat two challengers for another term in his Northeast Raleigh District B. Opponent Brian Fitzsimmons had one-third of the vote, with Sam Smith coming in a distant third.
Fitzsimmons, a Democrat and insurance company executive, said he was happy with the strong showing for his first campaign, and he plans to stay involved in local politics.
“This has been one of the better experiences of my life,” he said. “I’m excited to use this as a catalyst to be more active. … You’re certainly going to see more of me.”
Odom said he’s looking forward to another term keeping Raleigh “moving forward.” He said he’s not surprised by the partisan split in his district. “I’ve always said that I’ve got about 3,500 votes in District B, and I’m maintaining that,” he said.
In District C, incumbent Eugene Weeks had no trouble with two long-shot challengers, author Racquel Williams and anti-fluoride activist Marcus Hill.
Longtime Councilman Thomas Crowder defeated newcomer Jim Kemp Sherron in Southwest Raleigh’s District D. And in District E, incumbent Bonner Gaylord ran unopposed.