Several big races on the line this Election Day


Wake County voters will get the chance Tuesday to decide who makes up the often controversial Wake County school board.

"I hope that people have noticed since February the discussions at the board table have been civil, professional," Wake School Board Candidate Tom Benton said. "We haven't had real long meetings."

Benton said things have calmed down quite a bit since February, when he filled the spot former Republican Chris Malone vacated to take a state House slot

"I'm really comfortable about the place where the board is at this time," he said.

However, the retired principal's tenure on an interim basis has him seeking re-election where he'll face Don Mcintyre, a lawyer and retired small business owner, to earn a three-year term in District 1.

While Benton's re-election would solidify an already Democratic majority on the board, change could still come through three other seats.

In July, Republican John Tedesco announced he wouldn't run again. Leaving the door open for monika Johnson-Hostler, an executive director and PTA volunteer, to face Matt Scruggs -- who works in the automotive industry.

Republican Debra Goldman also stepped down in February making room in District 9 for Bill Fletcher -- her interim replacement -- to run against business woman Nancy Caggia.

Perhaps the biggest shake up could come in Deborah Prickett's district against retired Wake County educator Zora Felton.

Prickett is the only Republican incumbent left from her party's 2009 swept of the non-partisan board.

Regardless of the outcome, Benton -- a registered Democrat -- says each member will fight the same battle.

"Every person on the board is very committed to doing what they think is best for the students of Wake County," he said.

Wake County Construction Bond

Not only will the four races change the make up of the notorious school board, but an $810 million school construction bond is also on the ballot, which could mean big changes for many schools and students.

The bond would pay for 16 new schools and fund major renovations at six current facilities.

At a news conference Monday, the Wake County Taxpayers Association blasted the bond, calling it wasteful and extravagant.

"They are going to have to raise our taxes once again," the association's chairman, Ed Jones, said.

However, supporters of the bond have called the measure an absolute necessity -- referring to many of Wake County's schools as overcrowded and outdated.

"That bond rating allows us to borrow money at the absolute lowest rate and you know the cost of money right now is low anyway, ours is even more favorable," said Phil Zachary with Friends of Wake County.

City Mayor, Council Races

Wake County is not the only area with big races Tuesday.

Voters in Raleigh, Durham and Fayetteville will choose a mayor and several city council members.

Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane is seeking a second term in office. She is up for re-election against challengers Venita Peyton and Robert Lewis Weltzin. Residents will also cast ballots in six city council races.

Raleigh residents will also vote on a $75 million transportation bond.

Today is a primary election for the mayoral race in Durham. Bill Bell is seeking a seventh term against two other candidates -- Sylvester Williams and Michael Paul Valentine. One of the candidates will be eliminated Tuesday night, while the other two advance to the Nov. 5 general election.

The city council seat for Ward II is also up for grabs.

In Cary, residents will be able to vote on filling three open town council seats.

And in Fayetteville, voters will choose a new mayor among five candidates -- Val Applewhite, Kirk deViere, Nat Robertson, Paul Williams, and Charles Ragan. The top two candidates will advance to the general election.

Current Mayor Tony Chavonne decided not to seek a fifth term.

Voters have until 7:30 p.m. Tuesday to make it to the polls.

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