Race for Raleigh mayor heats up, debate imminent

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Both incumbent Nancy McFarlane and challenger Charles Francis say they have the plan the city needs.

The race for Raleigh mayor is headed toward a debate between incumbent Nancy McFarlane and challenger Charles Francis.

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ABC11 has learned that the campaigns are talking behind the scenes on when and where that debate will happen.

McFarlane says Francis' campaign is divisive. He claims the incumbent is out of touch.

"I have reached a great deal of the community, and if he (Francis) had been involved in city politics for the last 20 years he would have known that," McFarlane said Monday.

McFarlane is on the defensive to protect her image and legacy as Raleigh's mayor. It's a position she's held for six years, but she is now being seriously challenged in a runoff election by Francis, a Democrat.

"I'm ready to fight for the office," McFarlane said.

McFarlane, an independent, said her record speaks for itself.

She read a list of her accomplishments during a news conference that included:

  • Record tourism for three straight years in the City of Oaks.
  • Securing $800 million in private investments for job creation, and $60 million during the next 10 years for affordable housing.
  • Increased access to parks and green ways.

Francis said McFarlane lacks the leadership the city needs.

"Quoting facts and figures from her Facebook page is not leadership," he said.

Francis pointed to the lack of affordable housing for people making less than $35,000 a year.

On Monday, Francis said a taskforce is needed to fix the issue.

"Tax-credit developers, bankers, tax-credit lawyers, activists, and the mayor himself," Francis said.

Other topics on the table: city growth, transportation, jobs, and pay will likely be discussed as the candidates schedule a pending debate.

Their message for voters?

McFarlane: "I look forward to continuing to speak with voters about my record of public service and our city's accomplishments."

Francis: "What I am offering is a change in leadership and direction so we can do better as a whole."

The election is November 7. Early voting begins Thursday.
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politicsraleigh newspoliticsRaleighWake County
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