Vote 2022: Housing affordability a major factor in Raleigh mayor's race

Joel Brown Image
Tuesday, November 1, 2022
Housing affordability a major factor in Raleigh mayor's race
ABC11's Joel Brown sat down with all three Raleigh mayoral candidates to discuss the stakes of the election.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- It's been three years since a new pro-growth mayor and city council took control of the capital city. But will Raleigh voters put them back in office?

Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin has two challengers in her race. Both of them say the mayor's leadership is leaving too many residents behind.

ABC11's Joel Brown sat down with all three Raleigh mayoral candidates to discuss the stakes of the election.

"Three years ago, the issues we were talking about when this council was elected were e-scooters and accessory dwelling units (ADUs)," said Baldwin. "I mean look at what's happened."

WATCH: Full interview with Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin

Joel Brown's full interview with Mary-Ann Baldwin, who is seeking re-election and touring her accomplishments.

A lot has happened. So much more than scooters and granny flats. Just days into office, the COVID-19 pandemic struck; then outrage over George Floyd's murder sent the city into civil unrest; then last month's mass shooting left five people dead.

"I think it's made me a better leader," Baldwin said. "I don't think of myself as the mayor. I'm Mary-Ann. And what I've come to realize is that people want to hear from the mayor in times of crisis."

A campaign for 'Truth'

When he played football in high school and college, his nickname on the field was "Truth Ruth." Now Terrance Ruth, the one-time high school principal and current NC State professor, is running for mayor and making truth a campaign centerpiece.

WATCH: Full interview with Terrance Ruth

Joel Brown's full interview with Terrance Ruth, the one-time high school principal and current NC State professor who is running for Raleigh mayor.

"I think the residents are asking for someone who has integrity and leadership, someone who's willing to be present," said Ruth.

"In 2020, when we saw the civil unrest downtown there was a pivot in the appetite for the kind of leadership residents want to see in the city," he said. "People feel like they have no part in decisions, no part in conversations. Even at the council meetings, they only get 60 seconds."

Copeland's grassroots effort

DaQuanta Copeland is staging a grassroots campaign from southeast Raleigh for the mayor's office.

"My passion is the broken blueprint. Fixing the broken blueprint," said Copeland, a 42-year-old single mom and vice-chair of the Health and Human Services Board of Wake County who also sees herself as a firefighter of sorts.

WATCH: Full interview with DaQuanta Copeland

Joel Brown's full interview with DeQuanta Copeland, who says Raleigh is burning and believes she has solutions for the city.

"To put out fires all around you and your house is on fire made me fine tune my focus and do something that directly affects me," said Copeland who said she believes, in this analogy, Raleigh is burning.

"Raleigh is on fire," said Copeland. "We're losing affordable housing at a rapid rate; our homeless rate has doubled in the pandemic; we have big business coming in buying up our affordable housing land."

Baldwin's accomplishments

Baldwin and the city council are running for re-election on an impressive list of accomplishments:

Passing a parks bond; Assistance for small businesses; Funding bus rapid transit; More assistance for seniors and disabled; Adding a missing middle policy to city code -- means more homes for more people; And perhaps the biggest win: an $80 million affordable housing bond.

"Well, the accomplishments are that they were birthed. Now the second tier question is how are we doing?" said Ruth. "When I was first considering this decision, ADUs was the big thing. So the question is how many have we created?

"With the missing middle -- what affordability has it unleashed?" Ruth added.

Baldwin countered that the data is no secret.

"We've had a Department of Housing and Neighborhoods since 2014. And that's what they do. They monitor the data," she said. "We keep track of everything that we build or help build."

Ruth pledged to continue Raleigh's pro-growth momentum, but do it by better engaging city residents along the way. Copeland said it is time for a mayor that doesn't just cater to buildings -- but caters to people. Meanwhile, the mayor promises more of what she brought in her first term: Stay focused. Get things done.

Election day is Nov. 8.

RELATED: 5 things every NC voter should know before casting their ballot