Election Day 2023 Results: NC municipal races up for grabs in primary and general elections

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Wednesday, October 11, 2023
Williams, Woodard will square off in Durham mayoral race
Tom George reports on municipal elections in Durham, where the mayoral race was the focus.

CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Primary Election Day in North Carolina is over. Here's a quick look at the results from Tuesday's hot races in Durham, Fayetteville and Cary.

2023 is a municipal election year and the candidates that move forward after the October primary will face their opponents in November. However, Cary is holding general elections in October, leaving November open for any possible runoffs.

Election results

Big races

In District D, voters made history by electing Sarika Bansal. She became the first Indian American elected to the Cary Town Council.

Durham primary election

The Bull City's general election is not until November, but in order to make it to that election, candidates have to perform well in October's primary.

Durham is at a political crossroads with Elaine O'Neal not running for re-election as mayor.

Eight candidates were vying for the opportunity to replace O'Neal.

  • Mike Woodard
  • Leonardo Williams
  • DeDreana Freeman
  • Charlitta Burruss
  • Jontae Dunston
  • Nick Pettiford
  • Marshall Williams, Jr.
  • Sylvester Williams

Williams, a councilmember, and Woodard, a state senator, were the top two vote-getters in the mayoral primary and will face off in November for the general election.

Crime and development are some top issues facing the 8 Durham mayor candidates.

With nearly all precincts reporting, Williams took a commanding 51% of the vote, with Woodard garnering 29%. Another Durham city councilmember, DeDreana Freeman, finished third at 14%.

"And so, I hope I can be that drum major for change, I hope that I can lead us into a new culture, I hope that I can, you know, lead us into a new course correction to stop missing opportunities and get ready to take Durham to the next level, reforming opportunities and making them available for everyone," Williams said.

Woodard added, "That we've continued to grow responsibly, that citizens, residents of Durham say that they're happy with the services that they're receiving, that they feel safer, that there are more economic opportunities; Durham's economy is strong but it's not reaching to every part of the community."

Some voters who ABC11 spoke with said affordable housing as well as better wages for city workers in light of the sanitation worker strikes are top of mind. But with a crowded mayoral field, some said it was the personal touch of candidates campaigning and talking to them in person that made doing their homework a little easier

"If you are a candidate, and you care enough about my vote, you'll be out here, or you'll have a representative out here," said Leslie Saunders, a Durham voter. "I know you can't be out here 24/7, but you will make an effort to come meet me and build a relationship with me."

SAMPLE BALLOT | 2023 Durham primary election

Even more candidates (12) were on the ballot vying for three open City Council positions:

  • Nate Baker
  • Shanetta Burris
  • Javiera Caballero
  • J.J. Campbell
  • Waldo Fenner
  • Bonita Green
  • Monique Holsey-Hyman
  • Shelia Ann Huggins
  • Khalilah Karim
  • Carl Rist
  • Sherri Zann Rosenthal
  • Renee J. Vaughan

The top six vote-getters for City Council will face off in the November general election for the three open seats.

Those six were, in order of votes received: Baker, Caballero, Rist, Karim, Huggins, and Holsey-Hyman.

As expected, incumbent Mayor Mitch Colvin easily advanced to the general election.

Fayetteville primary election

Four candidates were on the ballot for mayor. The two top vote-getters will advance to November's general election.

As expected, incumbent Mayor Mitch Colvin easily advanced to the general election, raking in 61% of the vote. He will face Freddie de la Cruz, who finished with 22% of the vote.

Colvin said he would continue working on access to housing and boost workforce development for the next generation of jobs.

Former Cumberland County commissioner and Fayetteville councilman Charles Evans got 16% of the vote and Quancidine Hinson-Gribble registered just 1% of the vote.

De la Cruz said he would push to facilitate real estate and economic development in the city.

"I know how all these people work, and I know what they're working for -- for us -- because it's important that we get what we need to survive," said voter Vernell Cruz. "And that's what it's about."

For a breakdown of the candidates, click here.

Several candidates ran for two open Fayetteville City Council positions (District 2 & District 5).

In District 2, Malik Davis and Shakeyla Ingram advanced to the general election by besting five other candidates. In District 5, Lynne Bissette Greene and Johnny Dawkins were the top two vote-getters.

They will square off in November.

Cary general election

Mayor and Town Council positions were up for grabs in this election cycle but there was no drama -- or challenger -- in the mayoral race.

Incumbent Mayor Harold Weinbrecht ran unopposed and will serve another term.

An at-large council seat was expected to be much more competitive but incumbent Lori Bush will remain in the seat after getting more than 71% of the votes with the majority of precincts reporting.

There was a change in District C, however, as incumbent Don Fratz was soundly beaten by challenger Michelle Craig, who pulled in 61% of the vote with all precincts reporting.

And the District D race is a hot seat, which covers most of west Cary, voters made history by electing Sarika Bansal. She became the first Indian American elected to the Cary Town Council.

One 12-year resident of Cary who voted Tuesday said she was driven by the issues.

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"I would like to see more affordable housing," Aurora DeLuca told ABC11. "A little bit of like a little bit of stopping, maybe the cheaper housing that's very expensive for people but poorly built, would be great. Yeah. And I'd love to see less devastation of the farms."

For a more complete breakdown of the races and comments from the candidates, click here.

Voting this year

Registered voters must go to their assigned polling location to cast a ballot on Election Day. Check your voter information, including details on your polling location, at this link.

Polling locations were open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.

For the first time, voters were asked to show a photo ID to vote. To learn about all of the photo ID rules for this election, click here.