Raleigh, Durham and Fayetteville all choosing mayors

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Raleigh, Durham and Fayetteville all choosing mayors
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Raleigh, Durham and Fayetteville all choosing mayors

Today is Election Day, but officials said turnout was low this morning.

Durham is seeing about 3.5 percent turnout, which is double the about they saw last month on Election Day.

Raleigh is seeing 1.3 percent turnout at polling locations.

Early voting may be the reason for the low turnout after people turned out in large numbers to cast their ballot.

"The experience was very easy and very concise," voter Wyatt Cumbo said. "I'm hoping people voted early. I was able get off work and come down to vote. Hopefully people already have cast their ballot."

In the region's three largest cities, there is a running theme among this year's election challengers: Raleigh, Durhamm and Fayetteville have seen tremendous growth in recent years, but...

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Businessman and lawyer Charles Francis makes the case that Raleigh's growth under Mayor Nancy McFarlane has benefited Raleigh's skyline more than its people.

RELATED: Voters to pick Raleigh mayor Tuesday

"We need new leadership, we need better leadership and we need to bring more people into Raleigh's growth and development," Francis told ABC11.

Mayor McFarlane has been firing back with a pre-election blitz of TV ads, working to convince voters not to change horses in midstream.

"It's not time to take Raleigh on a different direction because we're moving forward so vastly- the only other direction is backwards."


In Durham, Steve Schewel has the better name recognition. He's served six years on city council.

RELATED: Durham to have new mayor for first time in 16 years

But his opponent, Farad Ali, chairman of the RDU Airport Authority Board, has the endorsement of Bill Bell - the city's longtime and still popular outgoing mayor.

It's a race that could come down to which candidate can convince the city's poorer residents they won't be priced out as the Bull City rises.

"(Affordable housing) can't be done just with the city's dollars, that's not enough," Ali said at the final mayoral debate last week. "It's got to be a collaboration and I think a housing trust fund will allow us to do that."

Schewel argues for a more creative use of the city's leverage with the local real estate community.

"We need to figure out through some tax incentives and through some density bonuses how to get the developers incentivized to include affordable units in what they're doing," he offered.


In Fayetteville, Nat Robertson is vying for a third term as mayor, capping off what many see as a renaissance to a once-beleaguered downtown.

Robertson's online campaign ads tout "a beautiful new baseball stadium," as evidence of Robertson's achievements. The mayor helped shepherd the $33 million downtown park for a minor league affiliate of the 2017 World Series champion Houston Astros through the city's approval process.

The stadium is slated to open in April 2019, a few months before the end of what Robertson hopes is his third term as mayor.

But Robertson's opponent, City Councilman Mitch Colvin is pledging to do more for the city's underserved neighborhoods.

"To be competitive in this environment, you've got to make your city livable," Colvin told ABC11.


  • Tuesday November 7.
  • Polls open at 6:30 am and close at 7:30 pm.
  • ABC 11 will have coverage on air and online, all day.