Runoff election in Raleigh as mayor misses 50 percent mark

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Runoff election in Raleigh as mayor misses 50 percent mark (WTVD)

After cruising to election night victories in her past three campaigns for Raleigh mayor, Nancy McFarlane is likely headed toward uncharted political territory, a runoff election.

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With 100 percent of Raleigh precincts reporting, McFarlane earned 48.5 percent of the vote compared to 36.7 percent garnered by her main opponent, Charles Francis.

McFarlane won more votes but not enough to avoid a runoff. Election rules require the winner to surpass 50 percent or the second-place finisher can submit a runoff request.

Francis arrived to a room full of loud cheers on the second floor of The Big Easy Restaurant in downtown Raleigh.

"What a night!" he proclaimed.

The southeast Raleigh lawyer and businessman did not formally request a runoff Tuesday night, but strongly suggested to supporters he would.

"Once all the votes have been counted we will be making an announcement about the next steps," he said. "But, what I can tell all of you here is, get ready!"

This was McFarlane's fourth campaign since ascending to the mayor's office in 2011. It was the closest race she ever had to run.

Francis launched a well-financed campaign with a message that Raleigh "can do better," putting McFarlane on the defensive against charges her stewardship has valued business investment and downtown amenities like Dix Park ahead issues facing poorer residents, like more affordable housing.

Surrounded by a crowded room of volunteers and supporters inside the library of Brewery Bhavana on Blount Street, McFarlane steeled herself for the likely runoff election to come.

"We have run a really positive campaign," she said. "We have worked really, really hard to bring people in Raleigh together and celebrate Raleigh.

"We really want to avoid a divisive runoff because we know division and pinning the community against each other is just not Raleigh," she said.
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