Chapel Hill voters mostly undecided in 2023 mayoral race, poll finds

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Thursday, November 2, 2023
Chapel Hill voters mostly undecided on mayoral race
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As Election Day approaches in Chapel Hill, one of the issues that's top of mind for voters is growth and development.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- As Election Day approaches in Chapel Hill, one of the issues that's top of mind for voters is growth and development.

"There's a little bit of coordination," Mike Von Guilleaume said. "I think coordinating the logistics of traffic, and housing, or low-income housing, would be a big issue to address to improve the diversity in the community."

The 2023 Election in Chapel Hill is in the spotlight as new candidates enter the mayoral race to win over voters who are "very closely divided," according to Public Policy Polling director Tom Jensen.

SEE ALSO | Early voting underway for November 2023 municipal elections in North Carolina

"You have one slate of candidates that would like for Chapel Hill to have a fair amount of growth and development, and another slate of candidates they would really like to slow it down," Jensen said.

Forty-percent of poll respondents said they're "not sure," who they'd vote for mayor just weeks before Election Day on Nov. 7.

"It basically looks like either candidate has a very good chance of winning," Jensen said. "I think really what's going to determine who wins this election is which one of those sides can motivate more people to go out and vote for their vision."

In a fast-growing town, Chapel Hill mayoral candidates Adam Searing and Jess Anderson shared how they'd like it to grow.

Some are concerned about developers pushing out small businesses, taking away from the town's charm, which Searing said he'd like to keep.

"We really have lost a lot of the charm and the attractive elements that people love about this community," Searing said. "We need to refocus on those things. It doesn't mean we stop growing."

For Anderson, there are ways to keep the charm and manage growth.

"We're really just trying to transform the way we do things here," Anderson said. "I'm not sure that the high rises are actually what is diminishing the charm necessarily. There are ways that you can have a really great activated street front and potentially have a slightly higher building. I think if we become so exclusive that nobody can afford to live here except for the wealthiest and the most privileged, that doesn't feel very charming to me."

Saturday is the last day for early voting in Orange County.