Both incumbents seeking re-election to the Pittsboro Town Board of Commissioners retained their seats Tuesday night, but it was a first-time candidate that earned the most votes.
Kyle Shipp led …
Thanks for reading Chatham County’s leading news source! Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing to the News + Record – you can do so by clicking here.
PITTSBORO — Both incumbents seeking re-election to the Pittsboro Town Board of Commissioners retained their seats Tuesday night, but it was a first-time candidate who earned the most votes.
Kyle Shipp led the field with 623 votes to earn a spot on the five-person board, while John Bonitz (504 votes) and Jay Farrell (464 votes) each earned another four-year term on the board as the top three vote-getters from a field of seven candidates, according to unofficial tallies.
They will join Jim Nass, who ran unopposed to replace to departing Cindy Perry as Pittsboro’s mayor, as part of the town’s governing body.
Bridget Perry finished fourth in voting with 432 votes, with Heather Johnson (322), Lonnie West (251) and Pam Cash-Roper (230) rounding out the field in fifth, sixth and seventh place, respectively.
The board was slated to get at least one new commissioner after current board member Bett Wilson Foley’s decision to not seek re-election, and it ended up being Shipp. A Michigan-born engineer who currently serves on the town’s planning board and the Chatham County Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, Shipp did not return a voicemail left for him in time for press deadlines, but said in a News + Record questionnaire that he wanted to be “the technical interface between town staff and residents.”
“I’ve learned a lot on the Planning Board about how Pittsboro works and development in the Town,” he said. “I want to use my experience to maintain the culture, character and environment of Pittsboro while we continue to progress and grow.”
Bonitz, a clean transportation specialist, earned his second term on the board. He said Tuesday night that the results were “a win for the people of Pittsboro.”
“I really do think it was a great outcome for Pittsboro and our great people and our town,” Bonitz said. “I’m honored that the voters chose me for another term.”
Farrell, the co-owner of Virlie’s Grill in downtown Pittsboro, won a seat for the third time. The Pittsboro native also did not reply to a voicemail by press time, but said in his questionnaire that he believed he brought the experience as a two-term incumbent “familiar with the issues and policies” and wanted to “keep the interest of the citizens first if possible” when it came to making votes.
Shipp took the lead in early voting with 319 votes, followed by incumbents Bonitz and Farrell, but Perry was less than 50 votes from Bonitz’s second place.
Bonitz also spoke to the election of Farrell and Shipp.
“I can’t help but think the voters responded to Jay Farrell’s strength on the concrete plant and the preposterous 40-year term on the development agreement,” he said. “The people of Pittsboro want a strong board and I’m very glad that Jay is standing strong. And I’m also really pleased that the voters overwhelmingly recognized everything that Kyle Shipp will bring to this work.”
The Pittsboro election saw 1,101 people turn out to the polls, amounting to just less than 16 percent of registered voters. This was less than the 1,524 ballots cast in the 2017 election, when there was also a contested commissioners race and a mayoral candidate running unopposed.
Reporter Zachary Horner can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @ZachHornerCNR.