Primary winners feature plenty of new faces

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More than 16,000 Chatham residents — 27.5% of the county’s registered voters — voted in last Tuesday’s primary election, giving newcomers key wins and some familiar faces political promotions.

The mid-term primary set the table for a few intriguing local and statewide November races and established the makeup of Siler City’s board of commissioners in a vote that was originally scheduled for last fall.

No incumbents lost seats, and Siler City’s controversial “Unity 2022” candidates — four newcomers seeking office as a bloc for mayor and three contested commissioner seats — each finished last in their respective races.

Here’s a breakdown of the vote and what’s next for the winning candidates:

SILER CITY MAYOR

Winner: Thomas “Chip” Price III

Also on the ticket: Donald Matthews, Nick Gallardo

Price won with 52.4% of the vote. Unofficial count: Price, 431 votes; Matthews, 289; Gallardo, 96; write-ins, 6.

About Chip Price: Price has served as an at-large commissioner for Siler City since 2011. He assumes the mayor seat vacated upon former Mayor John Grimes’ death in October 2020.

What he’s saying: “I want to do the job right for everybody here and make this the best city we possibly can,” Price said. “I look forward to serving the town and everybody in it, and I just ask that they continue to support the town and the board as we go forward.”

What to know: Commissioners will fill Price’s at-large seat by appointment. He assumes the mayorship just as new Town Manager Hank Raper comes to the job and as the town continues its search for a new town clerk.

SILER CITY COMMISSIONER
AT-LARGE

Winner: Cindy Bray

Also on the ticket: James “Jay” Underwood and Dean Picot Jr.

The incumbent Bray won with 48.36% of the vote. Unofficial count: Bray, 397 votes; Underwood, 356 votes, Dean Picot, 64 votes; write-ins, 4.

About Cindy Bray: Bray has served as one of Siler City’s at-large commissioners since 2009. This will be her fourth term in office.

What she’s saying: “I’m very grateful and glad to be able to serve the people of our city again,” Bray said. “I feel like we’ve accomplished several very big things in the last few years, and hopefully that will continue — I know it will.”

What to know: Bray, a retired educator, won her bid for reelection despite receiving criticism from the Unity bloc in a late April candidate forum and not being included in the group of candidates featuring two other incumbents — Price and Lewis Fadely and newcomers Underwood and Albert Alston — who promoted themselves together. Picot, one of the “Unity” candidates, finished a very distant third.

SILER CITY COMMISSIONER DIST. 1

Winner: Albert Alston

Also on the ticket: Sam Williams

Alston won with 79.31% of the vote. Unofficial count: Alston, 69 votes; Williams, 17; write-ins, 1.

About Albert Alston: Alston is a newcomer to the Siler City town board. He is taking the seat of Tony Siler, who chose not to seek reelection after serving on the board for over 19 years.

What he’s saying: Alston did not respond to the News + Record’s request for comment.

What to know: Alston, who didn’t complete the candidate questionnaire the News + Record provided to all candidates, will begin his term in June.

SILER CITY COMMISSIONER DIST. 5

Winner: Lewis Fadely

Also on the ticket: Rayetta Fox and Jared Picot

Fadely won with 51.72% of the vote. Unofficial count: Fadely, 75 votes; Fox, 57; Jared Picot, 13.

About Lewis Fadely: Fadely, an incumbent, has served Dist. 5 since 2011. This will be his third term on the town’s board.

What he’s saying: “We just got to keep doing the hard work for this town and trying to get us to a place of prosperity,” Fadely said. “We’ve done a lot of work over the past nine years, but there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done — just rolling up our sleeves and keep working hard and keep praying to the good Lord.”

What to know: Fadely is an attorney and has his own law office in Siler City. Jared Picot, Dean Picot’s brother, managed barely a dozen votes.

N.C. HOUSE 54 REPUBLICAN PRIMARY

Winner: Walter Petty

Also on the ticket: Craig Kinsey

Petty won with 64.39% of the vote. Unofficial count: Petty, 3,981 votes; Kinsey, 2,202.

About Walter Petty: Petty is a familiar face in Chatham, having served as a Chatham County commissioner for 10 years before resigning in 2019 to focus on his business, Atlantic Power Solutions. He was Chatham’s lone Republican commissioner when he left the board.

What he’s saying: “The opportunity to serve others is one of my greatest pleasures,” Petty said. “ ... Thank you to all who organized meetings, hosted meetings, gave of their time and supported me in any way.”

What to know: Kinsey initially delcared for a Congressional seat, but changed his mind after Petty filed. Petty will face incumbent Democratic Rep. Robert Reives II in the general election in November. Reives is the House Minority Leader in the General Assembly in Raleigh and has grown in prominence in state politics. Petty, who was popular as a commissioner and respected by both parties, expects to gain support from the new portion of the district — the heavily Republican section of Randolph County. Dist. 54 includes all of Chatham and used to include a portion of Durham County.

N.C. DISTRICT ATTORNEY DIST. 18

Winner: Jeff Nieman

Also on the ticket: Kayley Taber

Nieman won with 53.7% of the vote. Unofficial count: Nieman, 4,981 votes; Taber, 4,296 votes.

About Jeff Nieman: Nieman and Taber both serve as Assistant District Attorneys in current DA Jim Woodall’s office. Nieman has worked in in the Dist. 18 office since 2006 and created the Outreach Court in Orange County, which helps divert those experiencing homelessness to community resources instead of jail. He received key endorsements from a number of prominent attorneys and legal advocates.

What he’s saying: “I’m devoted to being the district attorney for everyone in the district,” he said. “Getting this job is a political process, but doing the job is not. It’s about listening and being present for everybody.”

What to know: No Republican filed to run in the District Attorney primary, so Nieman becomes the new DA at the end of this year.

CHATHAM COMMISSIONERS DIST. 3 DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY

Winner: David Delaney

Also on the ticket: Lewis Hendricks

Delaney won with 70% of the vote. Unofficial Count: Delaney, 6,210 votes; Hendricks, 2,667 votes.

About David Delaney: Delaney is a political newcomer with prior experience as a cybersecurity and privacy attorney at Truist Financial. He’s been active in a number of local nonprofits and has helped lead the effort of a group of Chatham residents seeking to curtail the “school to prison pipeline” in Chatham. He said his top priority is ensuring future infrastructure projects in Chatham are equipped to handle environmental, social and economic challenges of the county.

What he’s saying: “I want to thank my supporters for being part of a very active discussion process,” Delaney said. “Trying to understand the possibilities for good public policy is to explore what the law allows. And hopefully we can develop innovations for policy interests of the community like broadband and infrastructure solutions.”

What others on the ticket are saying: “I look forward to helping David and other Democrats in the county when November comes around,” Hendricks told the News + Record. “I was really encouraged by everyone’s campaign. I wanted to do better for public education, that’s why I ran, and I just hope David and other winners put policies in place to support that.”

What to know: Delaney will face Republican candidate Tom Glendinning in November. Glendinning previously sought the state senate seat held by Valerie Foushee in 2020, losing by more than 5,000 votes. The election will take the seat currently occupied by Commissioner Diana Hales, who’s not seeking reelection.

CHATHAM COMMISSIONERS DIST. 4 DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY

Winner: Katie Kenlan

Also on the ticket: Travis Patterson, Albert Reddick

Kenlan won with 61.5% of the vote. Unofficial count: Kenaln, 5,630 votes; Patterson, 2,060 votes; Reddick, 1,469 votes.

About Katie Kenlan: Kenlan is a lifelong Chatham resident and Pittsboro native who’s the daughter of Elaine Chiosso, the executive director of the Haw River Assembly. Kenlan’s main office priorities are addressing local climate change issues such as PFAS and 1,4-Dioxane contamination in Pittsboro’s water supply.

What she’s saying: “I am seriously humbled by this incredible support after this two-month sprint,” Kenlan said. “I’m so inspired by local leaders that came before me, including Diana Hales, Karen Howard, Margaret Pollard and Gary Phillips. I can’t wait to learn more about how to support this county in education and the growth we are experiencing.”

What others on the ticket are saying: “I want to thank all of our supporters and donors across the county for their vote, hard work and sacrifices to this campaign,” said Reddick, who’s previously unsuccessfully sought Siler City’s mayoral seat. “I will keep the county’s divisions and inequalities in our view and pray for the board to seek unity and fair remedies.”

“I’m proud of this campaign and what we were able to do as first-timers,” Patterson said. “I hope to use what I learned on the campaign trail to continue strengthening our communities. I’ll continue looking at our local workforce and housing in an attempt to ensure fair practice and job access for Chatham County residents.”

What to know: Kenlan will face Republican Joseph Godfrey for the Dist. 4 seat, held by Robert Logan. Logan was appointed to finish Jim Crawford’s term after Crawford resigned from his seat due to health reasons in December.

Other winners from election day

At the federal level, Chatham County’s vote totals coincided with the rest of North Carolina, with Cheri Beasely and Ted Budd as the primary nominees to face off in the U.S. Senate race in November. The U.S. House Dist. 9 also saw incumbent Richard Hudson hold strong with a landslide victory in the Republican primary.

In the courts, Trey Allen won N.C. Supreme Court Associate Justice Seat 5 in the Republican primary. He will face incumbent Sam J. Ervin IV, who is seeking his second eight-year term on the bench. Democrats hold a 4-3 majority on the state Supreme Court, but the seats held by Ervin and Democrat Robin Hudson are up for election in November. On the N.C. Court of Appeals, Donna Stroud was reelected after facing a strong challenge from Beth Freshwater Smith. Michael Stading won handedly against Charlton Allen on the N.C. Court of Appeals; Stading will run against Democratic incumbent Darren Jackson in November.

For full results, visit the North Carolina State Board of Elections website. 

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