Chatham votes: the latest

Posted 11/3/20

Editor's note: this story will be updated continually throughout the night.

Polls in Chatham County will closed at 7:30 p.m. tonight, with the county reporting the results of in-person, one-stop …

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Chatham votes: the latest

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Editor's note: this story will be updated continually throughout the night.

10:23 p.m. UPDATE: With all precincts reported, here are your winners in Chatham's contested races, according to the Chatham Board of Elections (pending the board's canvass):

  • Chatham Board of Commissioners: Karen Howard, Mike Dasher, Franklin Gomez Flores (all Democrats, though Franklin Gomez ran unaffiliated). Incumbent Commissioner Andy Wilkie, a Republican, loses his seat.
  • Chatham Board of Education: Incumbents Melissa Hlavac and David Hamm.

Democrats in all the other races ended up leading in Chatham as well, with the exception of Budd (U.S. House, Dist. 13 incumbent), who led throughout the reporting of results.

10:00 p.m. UPDATE: The following early leaders are still in the lead, though many by less of a margin once Election day votes began getting counted: Biden, Cunningham, Price, Budd, Cooper, Holley, Foushee, Reive II, Howard, Dasher, Gomez Flores (UNA), Hlavac and Hamm. Budd (U.S. House, Dist. 13 incumbent) is still the only GOP candidates with an early lead. As of 9:37 p.m. 55.56% of Chatham's precincts had been counted, or 10 of 18.

9:21 UPDATE: View unofficial Chatham County election results on our election page and on the state BOE website."

9:20 p.m. UPDATE: So far in Chatham, with early votes and absentees counted, here are your leaders: Biden, Cunningham, Price, Budd, Cooper, Holley, Foushee, Reives II, Howard, Dasher, Gomez Flores, Hlavac and Hamm. Budd (U.S. House, Dist. 13 incumbent) is the lone GOP candidate with the early lead...

9 p.m. UPDATE: Chatham's absentee and early voting results, which ordinarily would have been posted around 8:15, are being emailed to the State BOE office because of issues with passwords on new Chatham BOE laptops, put into use after the cyber incident which impacted the county last week. County BOE officials say results should be posted within minutes....

Polls in Chatham County will closed at 7:30 p.m. tonight, with the county reporting the results of in-person, one-stop early voting and absentee voting starting no earlier than 8:15, according to board of elections officials. 

Those results will be much larger than typical election years, with 43,608 ballots cast in Chatham prior to Election Day — just over 75% of all registered voters in the county. The turnout phenomenon is likely due to two unusual circumstances: a global pandemic and arguably the most contentious presidential race of modern times.

The News + Record will be reporting election results throughout the evening on our website and social media pages. Here are the main races, to be updated with results as precincts are reported:

Chatham County Board of Commissioners

Three of the board’s five seats are up for grabs in this year’s election. The incumbents — Democrats Karen Howard (Dist. 1) and Mike Dasher (Dist. 2) and Republican Andy Wilkie (Dist. 5) — each face opposition.

Howard, Dasher and Dist. 5 challenger Franklin Gomez Flores are running on a shared platform. They prioritize affordable housing, county-wide broadband service and quality public education as the principal features of their plan for the county.

Likewise, the three Republican candidates — incumbent Wilkie along with Dist. 2 candidate Jimmy Pharr and Dist. 1 candidate Jay Stobbs — are campaigning together. They hope to win a Republican majority and enact changes to employment regulation and county budgeting. They have also made restoration of the confederate monument in Pittsboro a central feature of their platform.

Chatham County Board of Education

The BOE has five non-partisan seats. Two are up for re-election this year.

Melissa Hlavac (Dist. 1) has served on the board since 2016. She is associate dean of MBA programs at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. Her goals include reducing the student achievement gap to address equity and raising the school state rankings.

“In this precarious environment, COVID-related decisions are some of the most critical decisions we will render,” Hlavac told the News + Record, “yet we must move forward with the backdrop of ongoing policy setting and guidance that must continue to propel the school district in a positive direction.”

She faces two opponents, Timothy Winters and Ryan Armstrong. Winters hopes to negotiate a larger share of incremental county revenue for education and implement maximum class sizes of 18. Armstrong is running on the Chatham Republican campaign ticket despite the board’s non-partisanship. He maintains that his contributions to the board, if he is elected, will not come from a political agenda.

In Dist. 2, longtime Chatham educator David Hamm is facing opposition for the first time in his last two terms. Continuing to increase the local pay supplement for teachers and prioritizing access to high speed broadband are among his goals. His opponent, Dennis Lewis, says he’ll represent parents better than they have been in the past. Like Armstrong, Lewis is running on the Republican campaign ticket.

N.C. House Dist. 54

Democrat Robert Reives II has served in the state legislature since 2014. His district has most recently included all of Chatham County and parts of Durham. He plans to continue a practice of policy making which he believes has served all of Chatham’s citizens irrespective of party allegiance.

“You hear people always fuss and say they don’t like partisan politics,” he said. “But then you’ll hear things, like I’ve literally heard one person say, ‘You’ve done such good stuff. I really appreciate how you’ve stood for Chatham County and, I mean, man, if you were Republican, I’d vote for you in a second.’ That’s crazy to me.”

Reives’ challenger, George Gilson Jr., is new to North Carolina but believes his conservative beliefs are exactly what Chatham County needs moving forward. Still, he agrees that intensifying division between the two major political parties will not serve constituents.

“Listen, I am conservative and I align myself more with the Republican Party,” he said, “but I think some decisions that the Republican Party have made have been bad for our country and our state. I also think the same on the Democratic side. Sometimes you have to look outside party allegiance and do what’s right for the state and the country.”

N.C. Senate Dist. 23

Democratic incumbent Valerie Foushee faces Republican challenger Thomas Glendinning for the N.C. Senate Dist. 23 seat which covers all of Chatham and Orange counties.

“The first thing I want to do if I am re-elected,” Foushee said, “is continue to work for the expansion of broadband for unserved and under-served areas particularly in Chatham County. I will continue to support investments in education so that Chatham County continues to progress. And I will continue to push for legislation that will keep the environmental aspects of Chatham County — water and air — clean.”

Glendinning’s platform focuses more on zoning legislation.

“This is dear to my heart because it has to do with property rights and personal rights,” he said. “In other words, that you can use your property or the resources around you as you need to. Our two counties (Chatham and Orange) are probably the most strictly zoned and restricted by planning code and zoning code in the state.”

U.S. Senate

Incumbent Senator Thom Tillis (R) is running for re-election. His only realistic opponent is Democrat Cal Cunningham. (You may also vote for Libertarian Shannon Bray or Constitution Party candidate Kevin Hayes.)

Tillis’ platform emphasizes his accomplishments over a long political career. He was elected as a senator in 2015 having previously served in the House of Representatives since 2006. He is a loyal Trump supporter, and many of his policies are reflective of the president’s.

Cal Cunningham, a veteran of the Iraq war and the war in Afghanistan with a law degree from UNC and a Master of Science in public policy from the London School of Economics, hopes voters will identify him as a well-rounded and capable leader despite his short time on the political scene.

For more in-depth coverage of the U.S. Senate race, check out our exclusive interviews Cal Cunningham and a Tillis spokeswoman in this edition.

N.C. Governor

North Carolina’s gubernatorial race features Democratic incumbent Roy Cooper and Republican challenger Dan Forest, N.C.’s current lieutenant governor. Libertarian Steven DiFiore and Constitution Party candidate Al Pisano are also on the ballot.

Cooper has served as governor since narrowly beating former Governor Pat McCrory in the 2016 race. During his term, Cooper has worked to expand Medicaid, increase teacher pay and add jobs around the state. He has also presided over the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic — a point of emphasis in his campaign as N.C. has managed lower infection and mortality rates than many surrounding states.

Forest, however, has been a vocal critic of Cooper’s leadership through the pandemic. If elected, he hopes to redirect the state’s pandemic navigation. He also lists second amendment rights, pro-life legislation and combating illegal immigration among his primary goals.

DiFiore emphasizes public education reform among the most prominent features of his platform. Improved access to healthcare and decreased housing costs are also important to him.

Other Races

  • U.S. House of Representatives: Republican incumbent Ted Budd faces Scott Huffman
  • N.C. Attorney General: Democrat incumbent Josh Stein faces Republican Jim O’Neill
  • N.C. Auditor: Democrat incumbent Beth Wood faces Republican Anthony Wayne Street
  • N.C. Commissioner of Agriculture: Republican incumbent Steve Troxler faces Democrat Jenna Wadsworth
  • N.C. Commissioner of Insurance: Republican incumbent Mike Causey faces Democrat Wayne Goodwin
  • N.C. Commissioner of Labor: Republican Josh Dobson faces Democrat Jessica Holmes. Incumbent Cherie Berry is not on the ballot.
  • N.C. Secretary of State: Democrat incumbent Elaine Marshall faces Republican E.C. Sykes
  • N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction: Republican Catherine Truitt faces Democrat Jen Mangrum. Incumbent Mark Johnson is not on the ballot after a failed gubernatorial effort.
  • N.C. Treasurer: Republican incumbent Dale Folwell faces Democrat Ronnie Chatterji
  • There are two uncontested races: Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor J. Lynn Mann and Register of Deeds Lunday Riggsbee.
  • Three N.C. Supreme Court races, five N.C. Court of Appeals races and four N.C. Court Judge seats are also on the ticket.


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