The incumbent members of the Raleigh City Council seeking re-election to two-year terms are feeling pretty good about themselves, as most got support from voters, which indicates steady satisfaction with the way the city has been going in recent years. The overwhelming passage of a transportation bond also indicated voter satisfaction. Incumbents won their races handily, with the exception of four-term council member Bonner Gaylord, who runs North Hills for developer John Kane and at 39 is one of the younger councilors.
Gaylord has been a solid council member from North Raleigh’s District E, but he was narrowly trailing newcomer Stef Mendell at election night’s end. A runoff is likely, and Mendell may have been helped by membership in the Democratic Party while Gaylord is unaffiliated. But parties have never seemed very influential in city politics. No, it may be that voters are pushing back somewhat against Gaylord’s ties to the development community. Developers held sway in Raleigh for decades, but not in recent years, when community activists and progressives such as former Mayor Charles Meeker and current Mayor Nancy McFarlane have run the show. The race is so close that a runoff would be understandable.
And in the at-large race, incumbent Russ Stephenson and newcomer Nicole Stewart lead the way, but third-place candidate Stacy Miller may be eligible for a runoff. All three were good candidates.
Raleigh again finds itself with a group of experienced, thinking council members, and good prospects for strong leadership in the next two years.