2021 municipal elections are over in the Charlotte area. Here are the takeaways
Charlotte’s City Council election may have been delayed until 2022, but voters in municipalities across the region made their voices heard on Tuesday night.
Here are some of the highlights.
Charlotte’s municipal elections weren’t the only ones to be postponed based on delayed census data. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board’s election will also take place in 2022.
Only one town, Huntersville, had a contested mayoral race. Town Commissioner Melinda Bales came out on top there, edging out former Mayor Jill Swain by 144 votes, according to preliminary results from the North Carolina State Board of Elections.
All the other towns’ incumbent mayors ran unopposed.
Also of note in Mecklenburg, Twanna Henderson won a town commissioner seat in Mint Hill, becoming the only Black woman on the board. All the other town’s commissioners are white men, according to The Charlotte Observer.
No elections were delayed in Anson County. In the county seat of Wadesboro, incumbent Town Council member Fred Davis was reelected. The other two top vote-getters were J.F. Harward and Chipper Long.
Cabarrus County didn’t have any delayed elections. Concord Mayor William Dusch ran unopposed. On City Council, Betty Stocks, J.C. McKenzie and Terry Crawford won. McKenzie and Crawford were incumbents, and Stocks will replace District 3’s Ella May Small, who wasn’t on the ballot.
In Harrisburg, meanwhile, Jennifer Teague beat incumbent Mayor Steve Sciascia with 56% of the vote, according to preliminary results. She’s a political newcomer, according to the Independent Tribune, and Sciascia has been mayor since 2013 — and a member of Town Council since 2006.
In Kannapolis, which is in the midst of a revitalization, Mayor Darrell Hinnant ran unopposed. Jeanne Dixon became the first Black woman elected to the City Council, according to The Salisbury Post, while Dianne Berry and Doug Wilson kept their seats.
The city of Hickory and the town of Long View delayed their elections until 2022. The school districts went ahead this year, though. Amanda McGuire and Keyhisa Hannah won seats on the Hickory Public Schools board. It’s a first for both candidates, reports the Hickory Daily Record. There were no changes on the Newton-Conover Schools’ board, with incumbents Robbie Gonzales, Tim Hayes and Phil Heath all winning reelection. Heath’s race was a close call, topping Polly Pearson with only about 1 percentage point, according to preliminary results.
Kings Mountain (which is split between Cleveland and Gaston counties) delayed its elections until 2022. But the rest of Cleveland County’s municipalities held elections Tuesday.
Shelby’s mayor wasn’t on the ballot, but three City Council seats were. Emilie Bullock ran unopposed in District 1, replacing Eric Hendrick. Incumbent Charles Webber was unopposed in District 5, and incumbent Violet Arth beat out Ric Francis for the District 4 seat.
In Boiling Springs, incumbent Mayor Daniel Thomas ran unopposed. Incumbent Town Council members Patrick Litton and Marty Thomas were reelected, and Tonya Gantt won the race to replace Mary Ruth Dixon, who resigned in May.
Of note: Shelby voters approved street and sidewalk improvement bonds with 78% of the vote, according to preliminary results. You can read more about what entails from The Shelby Star.
Gastonia’s mayor wasn’t on the ballot, but the three City Council members who were — Robert Kellogg, Dave Kirlin and Jennifer Stepp — were all reelected. (Stepp, it should be noted, was unopposed.)
Elsewhere in the county, Belmont Mayor Charlie Martin coasted to reelection with 56% of the vote to his nearest challenger’s 36%, according to preliminary results. But in Cramerton, incumbent Mayor Will Cauthen was knocked out of office by challenger Nelson Wills, getting only 46% of the votes to Wills’ 52%.
Two other items of note, here: Mount Holly voters said no to a $13.5 million parks and recreation bond package while High Shoals voters said yes to retail beer and wine sales and booze sales in bars in restaurants. As The Gaston Gazette reports, High Shoals had been the only place in the county that didn’t allow alcohol sales.
Statesville delayed its elections until 2022. But Iredell County’s other big town, Mooresville, had two races on the ballot.
The two Mooresville races were for town-wide seats; district-specific ones will be held next year. But on Tuesday, Mayor Miles Atkins and at-large Commissioner Gary West both sailed to reelection over their opponents.
On the Mooresville Graded School District board, Greg Whitfield was reelected and Rakeem Brawley won a seat. They were the top two vote-getters in a seven-person race.
There are a few other interesting tidbits out of Iredell.
Dannie Johnston is the unofficial winner of the mayoral race in Love Valley, winning with 21 votes. The Iredell County elections director, Susie Jordan, confirmed that initial vote totals show Johnston beating write-in candidate Anthony Kennedy by a single vote.
The town also had a tie for the fifth seat on the Love Valley town commission. Tori Barker and Linda Chase both received 29 votes. Local election officials will pick one of their names from a hat on Nov. 9, to determine the winner.
Monroe has a new mayor. Marion Holloway, currently the city’s mayor pro-tem, won about 46% of the vote in a three-person race Tuesday, according to preliminary results. The city’s longtime mayor, Bobby Kilgore, decided not to run again.
Holloway wants more diversity and inclusion in government offices but doesn’t plan on other big shifts in how things are done, WBTV reports.
“You know the old saying, ‘If you’re making good biscuits, don’t change the recipe?’” he said in his victory speech, according to the station. “We’re making good biscuits, but we should add other things to them to get a better flavor.”
It’s a tight race for mayor of Salisbury — like less than 1% tight. Incumbent Mayor Karen Alexander led preliminary results with 18 votes, or 50.01% to 49.65%, over Mayor Pro Tem Al Heggins. “Every vote counts,” Heggins posted on social media. Heggins is planning to request a recount. According to the Salisbury Post, it’s the first year voters got to directly choose the mayor. Before now, it was up to council members to appoint one of their own.
As for Salisbury City Council, incumbents Tamara Sheffield and David Post were reelected. Harry McLaughlin and Anthony Ray Smith were newly elected.
Also of note, Spencer voters overwhelmingly approved charter amendments allowing their mayor and town commissioners to serve four-year terms instead of two-year terms.
— WFAE's Nick de la Canal contributed to this report.