Former N.C. Gov. Jim Hunt has endorsed incumbent Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane – not her opponent Charles Francis, a self-professed “Jim Hunt Democrat.”
In a statement released Wednesday, Hunt called McFarlane “a true leader” and said her work on the Dix Park project had been “masterful.” McFarlane helped negotiate a deal to buy the roughly 300-acre site near downtown from the state.
McFarlane spokesman Perry Woods said he was not aware of Hunt endorsing McFarlane or any other candidate in past mayoral elections.
McFarlane is an unaffiliated voter seeking her fourth term, and Francis is Democrat who works as an attorney.
Francis invoked Hunt’s name last month in an explanation of his support from prominent state Republican figures, saying in an interview with INDY Week his penchant for coalition-building was similar to the four-term governor’s.
“If I was going to characterize my philosophy, I’m a Jim Hunt Democrat, so I attract support from a broad range of people,” Francis said.
Hunt was the Democratic governor of North Carolina from 1977 to 1985 and again from 1993 to 2001. He is best known for his emphasis on education policy and programs.
McFarlane has also been by endorsed by the Sierra Club and EqualityNC. Francis has been endorsed by the Wake County Democratic Party, the Raleigh-Wake Citizens Association, EqualityNC and the Wake County Voter Education Coalition.
Paul Fitts, a Republican, is also running for mayor. He has been endorsed by the North Carolina Police Benevolent Association.
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Gargan: 919-829-4807; @hgargan