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Voters reject incumbents in Wake Forest, Wendell, Zebulon

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Voters in three Wake County towns ousted incumbent leaders on Election Day in favor of new faces.

In Wake Forest, Chad Sary was the top vote-getter in a race that focused largely on controlling — and perhaps limiting — growth. Jim Dyer and Adam Wright also won seats, and incumbent Anne Reeve lost her bid for a fourth term.

Other incumbents who didn’t come out on top were Wendell’s Ben Carroll and Zebulon’s Don Bumgarner.

But sitting candidates fared better in Rolesville. Both Michelle Medley and Sheilah Sutton won re-election. Current Rolesville commissioner Ronnie Currin won the town’s mayorship, and Knightdale and Wendell re-elected their mayors as well.

The unofficial results posted Tuesday night have yet to be certified by the N.C. State Board of Elections.

Here’s how the races played out:

Knightdale mayor

Incumbent mayor James Roberson won unopposed.

James Roberson: 814 votes (95.32 percent) — ELECTED

Write-in: 40 votes (4.68 percent)

Knightdale town council

No incumbent ran for re-election, and two newcomers, Ben McDonald and Stephen Morgan, ran unopposed for the two open seats.

Stephen Morgan: 696 votes (48.17 percent) — ELECTED

Ben McDonald: 678 votes (46.92 percent) — ELECTED

Write-in: 71 votes (4.91 percent)

Rolesville mayor

Commissioner Ronnie Currin will be Rolesville’s next mayor. He was the only name on the ballot, although running a write-in campaign from challenger James Bradford appeared to earn a number of votes.

Ronnie Currin: 823 votes (84.24 percent) — ELECTED

Write-in: 154 votes (15.76 percent)

Rolesville commissioner

Incumbent Michelle Medley earned the most votes with 519 — a feat she pulled off in 2015 when she ran for her first term. She will be rejoined by incumbent Sheilah Sutton (495 votes).

The two were the clear winners in the five-way race, with April Sneed the first runner-up with 376 votes.

Rolesville’s population has nearly doubled in five years, and Medley said she hopes a focus of the board going forward will be to revamp the town’s Unified Development Ordinance, which regulates zoning and land use.

“We really need to look and see where we are developing,” Medley said Wednesday. “I definitely want economic development — oh my gosh, I want that — but I don’t want us to be in a rush with something we’ll regret later.”

Improving infrastructure like roads should come first, she said.

Michelle Medley: 519 votes (27.36 percent) — ELECTED

Sheilah Sutton: 495 votes (26.09 percent) — ELECTED

April Sneed: 376 votes (19.82 percent)

Steven Dieckhaus: 280 votes (14.76 percent)

Edward Carelli: 222 votes (11.70 votes)

Write-in: 5 votes (0.26 percent)

Wake Forest commissioner

Anne Reeve, the only incumbent running again, came in last in the seven-way race for three open seats, with 713 votes.

Chad Sary led the race with more than twice as many — 1,578 votes. Jim Dyer and Adam B. Wright also won seats with more than 1,400 votes apiece.

Sary on Wednesday said he was surprised and honored to win the most votes.

He said he thinks his message about promoting economic independence in the town — by attracting types of businesses that residents currently have to travel to Raleigh for — resonated with voters.

As a commissioner, Sary said he wants to promote transparency and start an outreach program that informs people about the role of local government.

“Let’s let them know what we can and can’t do,” Sary said, mentioning that he wants to reach out to schools and civic clubs for the program.

Chad Sary: 1,578 votes (18.88 percent) — ELECTED

Jim Dyer: 1,496 votes (17.90 percent) — ELECTED

Adam B. Wright: 1,483 votes (17.74 percent) — ELECTED

Heather Loftin Holding: 1,265 votes (15.13 percent)

Sean Sullivan: 1,030 votes (12.32 percent)

Greg Bartholomew: 757 votes (9.06 percent)

Anne Reeve: 713 votes (8.53 percent)

Write-in: 37 votes (0.44 votes)

Wendell mayor

Incumbent mayor Virginia Gray defeated challenger Braxton Davis Honeycut. Gray got more than three times as many votes as Honeycut.

“You’ll have to ask (the voters) why that was,” Gray said Wednesday, adding she was excited and humbled to be chosen for a second term.

Her priorities include planning for growth as new residents move in almost daily. That includes completing work on a new town hall and attracting new business while keeping the “Mayberry” feel of downtown.

“Wendell has been a sleepy town for a long time and I think folks here are excited to shake the dust off and spread our wings a bit,” Gray said.

Virgina Gray: 884 votes (75.04 percent) — ELECTED

Braxton Davis Honeycutt: 287 votes (24.36 votes)

Write-in: 7 votes (0.59 percent)

Wendell commissioner

Incumbent Ben Carroll trailed challengers Joe DeLoach and Phillip Tarnaski by about 300 votes, and will not serve another term.

With two open seats, DeLoach and top vote-getter Tarnaski will serve on the board.

Phillip Tarnaski: 782 votes (40.37 percent) — ELECTED

Joe DeLoach: 705 votes (36.40 percent) — ELECTED

Ben Carroll: 417 votes (21.53 percent)

Write-in: 33 votes (1.70 percent)

Zebulon commissioner

The top three vote-getters — Glenn York, Larry Loucks and Shannon Baxter — won seats on the board. They are all newcomers.

The only incumbent, Don Bumgarner, trailed by 66 votes and was first runner-up in the seven-way race.

“All the candidates were very qualified and I think that made the race more interesting to a lot of people,” York said Wednesday, noting that voter turnout was up this year.

York, who had unsuccessful bids for a seat in elections past, said he felt Zebulon citizens “are ready for a change.” He pointed out that longtime commissioner Bumgarner did not win re-election and two other long-serving commissioners, R. Dale Beck and Curtis Strickland, opted not to run again.

“People want a more multicultural, diverse community,” York said.

Glenn York: 280 votes (22.54 percent) — ELECTED

Larry Loucks: 261 votes (21.01 percent) — ELECTED

Shannon Baxter: 231 votes (18.60 percent) — ELECTED

Don Bumgarner: 165 votes (13.29 percent)

Sam Hayes: 161 votes (12.96 percent)

Stan R. Nowell: 82 votes (6.60 percent)

Marilyn Price Wagner: 55 votes (4.43 percent)

Write-in: 7 votes (0.56 percent)


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