Record contributors Will Huntsberry, Karen Tam and Charles C. Duncan Pardo contributed to this article.
The four Republican candidates running for the Wake County Commission won Tuesday’s election. Incumbent Republican Tony Gurley will now chair the commission with a solid Republican majority.
Challenger Phil Matthews narrowly beat incumbent Democrat Lindy Brown for District 2. Incumbents Paul Coble (District 7), Chair Tony Gurley (District 2) and Joe Bryan (District 1) won with comfortable margins. All county commissioner races were at-large and voters across the county could cast ballots for all four.
Jack Nichols, who ran a very aggressive campaign against Paul Coble, said, “This year was a Republican Tsunami. I just wanted to see if school board issues would make a difference in getting Democrats out to vote or we would get swept up by the waves. And we got swamped.”
In his hotel room at the Holiday Inn Brownstone on Hillsborough Street, election night headquarters for county and state Democrats, Nichols admitted that Democrats “needed to get the independent vote.”
“Independent Yankee Republicans in the Western part of the county got spooked,” concluded Nichols campaign consultant Perry Woods.
The greatest challenge the new board will face is dealing with budget shortfalls across the county government. All of the Republican candidates campaigned on the platform that funding education and public safety and emergency services were top priorities. But with Dorothea Dix still on the chopping block, it is unclear how the commission will handle bed shortages in mental health care facilities.
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A young man walks down Oberlin Road in Raleigh Tuesday afternoon, where campaign signs sprout like flowers along the roadway. Photo by Karen Tam.
Voters go in to vote at Hudson Memorial Presbyterian Church Tuesday afternoon. Photo by Karen Tam.
Voters leave the Hudson Memorial polling site. Photo by Karen Tam.
Brad Harold, 49, left talks to D.G. Martin, 70, as he campaigns for his son Grier Martin at the Root Elementary School in Raleigh. D.G. Martin is the host of WUNC-TV Book Watch. Photo by Karen Tam.
Wearing her running shoes, Senate candidate Elaine Marshall, left, chats with Betsy Davis as she campaigns the last day at the Cameron Village Library. Photo by Karen Tam.
A couple watches the returns come in at the North Carolina GOP party in downtown Raleigh Tuesday night. Photo by Charles C. Duncan Pardo.
Jenna Wadsworth became the youngest female elected official in North Carolina’s history Tuesday. She will turn 22 on November 16. She celebrated here with the state Democratic Party at a hotel on Hillsborough Street. Photo by Will Huntsberry.
Republican Tony Gurley celebrates his victory Nov. 2 at the NC GOP party at the Marriot in downtown Raleigh. Photo by Charles C. Duncan Pardo.
Joe Bryan at the state GOP celebration enjoys his victory with a young family member. Photo by Charles C. Duncan Pardo.
Elaine Marshall gives her concession speech Tuesday night at the state Democrat’s event at a hotel on Hillsborough Street. Photo by Will Huntsberry.
Bob Etheridge, in the white shirt, talks with volunteers at a private event Tuesday night before joining the state Democratic Party on Hillsborough Street. Photo by Charles C. Duncan Pardo.
Brad Miller rallies Democrats at the party’s election night celebration. Photo by Will Huntsberry.