Facing his first Republican challenger in 10 years, longtime Mecklenburg County commissioner Bill James eked out a win over challenger Ed Driggs on Tuesday for the District 6 seat.
With all 29 precincts reporting, James had 8,541 votes to Driggs 7,921 votes.
James, one of the countys most polarizing politicians, took a slim early lead that steadily expanded as votes were counted Tuesday night.
Ed tried to make this a campaign of style, James said. I think the voters are saying theyre not as upset with me as uptown is.
I just think voters are looking for somebody thats willing to stand up for them. This vote says I need to keep doing what Ive been doing.
James will face Democrat Connie Green-Johnson to keep the seat James has held since 1996.
James, 55, an eight-term commissioner, campaigned largely from home by emails. He did no door-to-door stumping and attended only a few election functions in the southern Mecklenburg district that stretches for 25 miles from Mint Hill into the Steele Creek area.
He said Tuesday he didnt go out to campaign at polls. Im not healthy enough to campaign at polls, he said. I dont do that stuff anymore.
As the challenger, Driggs campaigned aggressively, targeting Republicans from one end of the district to the other, and making calls to hundreds more.
He also attended GOP events, chamber meetings and town council meetings in the districts municipalities.