Here’s how Chatham County voted

BY D. LARS DOLDER, News + Record Staff
Posted 11/11/20

An historic election season is drawing to a close in Chatham County as unofficial results countywide suggest a Democratic sweep in contested races.

Democratic candidates in every major category …

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Here’s how Chatham County voted

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Posted

An historic election season is drawing to a close in Chatham County as unofficial results countywide suggest a Democratic sweep in contested races.

Democratic candidates in every major category beat out their opponents, though often by slim margins. And while the final vote count will not come in until Friday at the earliest (and will not be made official until Nov. 24), it seems unlikely for any of these results to change.

The following results do not account for outstanding mail-in absentee ballots which may still be counted if they arrive by Nov. 12. The anticipated number, however — little more than 200 ballots in Chatham County — are unlikely to make the difference in any race.

Neither do the figures below include provisional ballots, but they are even less influential than mail-ins. While absentee-by-mail ballots have favored Democratic candidates in this election, provisionals — which are cast when voter eligibility must be later verified — almost always break down the middle. And most of them are ultimately thrown out.

So, without further ado, here is how you voted, Chatham County.

President

More than 100,000 absentee ballots may still make a difference in the statewide presidential race, but probably not. North Carolina will likely go for President Donald Trump. Chatham County, however, felt differently.

• 26,642 Chathamites voted for Joe Biden

• 21,055 voted for Donald Trump

The breakdown — 55% for Biden versus 44% for Trump — is remarkably similar to 2016’s pattern. In that year, 53% voted for Hillary Clinton and 43% for Trump.

But numbers tell an incomplete story. Chatham may have voted along similar party lines as four years ago, but the electorate has evolved. For a better understanding of Chatham County’s political divide, and how it is tellingly representative of the country at large, check out our voter breakdown story in this week’s edition, which starts on page A1.

U.S. Senate

There were four candidates on the ballot for U.S. Senate this year, but only two stood a real chance: incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis (R) and challenger Cal Cunningham (D). As the vote stands now, Tillis is the statewide victor; Cunningham conceded on Tuesday. Pollsters predicted a comfortable win for Cunningham, but a lurid scandal late in the campaign season undermined his credibility among moderate Republican voters and women across the board.

But in Chatham County, the Democratic bent still won out.

• 25,563 voted for Cunningham

• 20,906 voted for Tillis

Cunningham and Tillis thus earned 55% and 44% of the county’s electorate, respectively.

Governor

Roy Cooper’s victory in the gubernatorial race is the most interesting of any in this year’s election. The Democratic governor has been under nationwide spotlight as he directed N.C.’s pandemic navigation differently than his peers in adjacent states. His efforts saved many lives by comparison, but also stifled the economy.

In a state where the majority appear to have voted for the Republican Trump for president — who has downplayed the pandemic’s severity from the beginning — Cooper won his contest as the number one vote-getter in the N.C. His opponent, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, also downplayed the virus and said he would end mask mandates.

It’s no surprise, then, that Cooper was also the No. 1 vote-getter in Chatham County.

• 27,970 voted for Cooper

• 19,815 voted for Lt. Gov. Dan Forest

N.C. Lieutenant Governor

Here again, Chatham diverged from the state at large. Republican Mark Robinson is the projected winner of N.C.’s lieutenant governor race, but Chatham preferred Yvonne Lewis Holley with 54% of the vote versus 46% for Robinson.

• 25,814 voted for Holley

• 21,664 voted for Robinson

U.S. House of Representatives

There were two districts on Chatham’s ballot, representing the western and eastern sections of the county. The incumbent Ted Budd, whose district will oversee West Chatham, was the only Republican candidate in the county to win a majority.

• District 13: Ted Budd (R) won 5,750 votes versus Scott Huffman (D), who won 3,414

• District 4: David E. Price (D) won 23,027 votes versus Robert Thomas (R), who won 15,333

N.C. State Senate District 23

Incumbent Valerie P. Foushee (D) won her reelection effort with 56% voter support in Chatham County. Republican challenger Tom Glendinning earned 44%.

• 26,104 voted for Valerie Foushee

• 20,546 voted for Tom Glendinning

N.C. House of Representatives District 54

Incumbent Robert T. Reives II (D) took 55.78% of Chatham’s vote to win another term. George T. Gilson Jr. (R), Reives’ opposition, got 44.22%.

• 26,145 voted for Reives

• 20,727 voted for Gilson

Chatham County Board of Commissioners

Three seats out of five on the county board of commissioners were up for grabs in this year’s election. The two incumbent Democrats succeeded in retaining their positions while the board’s only Republican representative, Andy Wilkie, appears to have lost out to young challenger Franklin Gomez Flores.

Gomez Flores ran unaffiliated but shared his platform with the two veteran Democratic candidates.

Of all Chatham County’s races, the contest between Wilkie and Gomez Flores is the only one that may yet swing. Gomez Flores is currently in the lead, but his 322 extra votes afford Wilkie the right to demand a recount and remaining mail-in absentee ballots could possibly make a difference. But probably not.

• District 1: 25,315 voted for Karen Howard (D), 21,377 voted for Jay Stobbs (R)

• District 2: 25,325 voted for Mike Dasher (D), 21,230 voted for Jimmy Pharr (R)

• District 5: 22,624 voted for Franklin Gomez Flores (U), 22,302 voted for Andy Wilkie (R)

Chatham County Board of Education

• District 1: 21,517 voted for Melissa Hlavac, 11,721 voted for Ryan Armstrong and 4,793 voted for Timothy Winters

• District 2: 23,250 voted for David M. Hamm, 14,382 voted for Dennis R. Lewis

For a more detailed breakdown of the Chatham County board of commissioners and board of education races, be sure to read our coverage in this edition.

Reporter D. Lars Dolder can be reached at dldolder@chathamnr.com and on Twitter @dldolder.

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