Nancy McFarlane won a third term as Raleigh mayor Tuesday and secured her balance of power on the City Council as four of the five candidates that she and her husband had supported won and the other appeared to qualify for a runoff.
In another result, this year’s push for a more youthful Raleigh City Council failed to take hold with voters, who had been urged to reject candidates who backed new restrictions on outdoor drinking. Nancy McFarlane and husband Ron McFarlane backed District C winner Corey Branch, District D winner Kay Crowder, District E winner Bonner Gaylord and at-large member Russ Stephenson, who retained his seat.
Stephenson and incumbent Mary-Ann Baldwin, the top at-large vote-getter, fended off a challenge from Matt Tomasulo, a 33-year-old urban living advocate who opposed the restrictions on drinking. Four candidates vied for two at-large seats.
Meanwhile, McFarlane-backed candidate Dickie Thompson appeared headed for a runoff against J.B. Buxton or Eddie Woodhouse in a tight District A race. Thompson led the field by 57 votes with all precincts reporting. A runoff appeared likely.
Turnout throughout the city was low, with about 11 percent of voters casting ballots.
Overall, the successes of allied candidates meant that McFarlane, 59, will lead a council that will continue to guide and monitor the city’s development closely.
“I’m happy for all of them,” McFarlane said after results were final Tuesday. “It’s really time to get past the campaign and start being a team.”
Incumbents Stephenson and Crowder, especially, stressed that they would protect neighborhoods from development amid a time of tremendous growth.
“What you heard tonight was a referendum on protecting neighborhoods, prioritizing affordable housing and transportation,” Crowder said. “Those are the things I talked about.”
Incumbents faced challenges from young candidates who garnered strong financial support from downtown business owners for opposing new outdoor dining restrictions the council approved in August. Stephenson and Crowder voted for the rules, while three members opposed them.
Crowder, who was appointed to the council last fall after the death of her husband, former councilman Thomas Crowder, won her first election by beating Ashton Smith, 29.
With all precincts reporting, David Cox, a neighborhood activist known for leading the push against a proposed grocery store in North Raleigh, led incumbent John Odom by more than 200 votes in District B.
“People have concerns about growth and development affecting their neighborhoods,” Cox said.
Nancy McFarlane (I) 74.36%
Bob Weltzin 25.23%
(107 of 107 precincts reporting)
Craig S. Ralph 14.04%
Russ Stephenson (I) 30.22%
Mary Ann Baldwin (I) 31.05%
Matt Tomasulo 24.34%
John Bruce Buxton 32.55%
Richard A. Thompson 33.89%
Edwin W. Woodhouse Jr. 33.32%
David Neil Cox 52.30%
John Odom (I) 47.30%
Corey Demont Branch 52.31%
Eugene Weeks (I) 47.30%
Kay Crowder (I) 62.02%
Ashton Mae Smith 37.56%
DeAntony Collins 7.46%
Bonner Gaylord (I) 55.59%
Edie Jeffreys 36.67%