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Polls close across North Carolina; candidates await results

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/11/05/07/26/JoFd5.Em.138.jpeg|373
    DAVIE HINSHAW - THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER
    Voters at Forest Hill Church on Park Road just after the polls opened Tuesday morning Nov. 5, 2013.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/11/05/07/26/efSD5.Em.138.jpeg|240
    DAVIE HINSHAW - THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER
    Voters at Forest Hill Church on Park Road just after the polls opened Tuesday morning Nov. 5, 2013.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/11/05/07/26/sd7X3.Em.138.jpeg|212
    DAVIE HINSHAW - THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER
    Voters at Forest Hill Church on Park Road just after the polls opened Tuesday morning Nov. 5, 2013.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/11/05/09/43/Jnkx7.Em.138.jpeg|202
    DAVIE HINSHAW - THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER
    Voters at Greater Mount Moriah Primitive Baptist Church on West Trade Street, early Tuesday morning Nov. 5, 2013.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/11/05/09/43/mHFib.Em.138.jpeg|223
    DAVIE HINSHAW - THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER
    Campaign volunteer Rosemary Lawrence greets voter Charles Houston outside the Betty Rae Thomas Recreation Center on Tuckaseegee Road, Tuesday morning Nov. 5, 2013.

The campaigning and voting has ended, and now it’s time to count the votes in dozens of municipalities and counties across the Charlotte region.

The polls closed at 7:30 p.m., after a day that saw a tepid turnout of voters to cast ballots in local and a few county-wide races.

The highest-profile race regionally is the Charlotte mayoral contest. The city’s last two mayors have moved on to bigger positions -- Pat McCrory as governor of North Carolina, and Anthony Foxx as Secretary of Transportation in the Obama administration.

Elections officials in Mecklenburg and surrounding counties say they expect turnouts of 30 percent or less.

At 3 p.m., nearly 350 people had voted at Precinct 216, at Crown Point Elementary School in Matthews. That constituted 7 percent of the precinct’s registered voters.

“It’s been steady all day,” one precinct worker said. “I was told that in this part of the county, our precinct had the heaviest turnout, as of midday.”

At Precinct 9, Covenant Presbyterian Church in Charlotte’s Dilworth neighborhood, about 10 percent of the precinct’s voters had cast ballots as of early afternoon.

That gave candidates and their supporters a lot of one-on-one opportunities as they greeted arriving voters and handed out campaign literature in a last-ditch effort to get votes.

“I’d appreciate a vote for my husband,” Teri Ross told a couple arriving at Crown Point Elementary. Her husband, John, is a candidate for the board of town commissioners in Matthews.

“We’ve seen a pretty steady turnout of voters, actually,” Ross said.

With this being an “odd-numbered” year, there aren’t statewide races on the ballot. Instead, voters will select the people who will represent them at the local level. That includes the City of Charlotte, where Democrat Patrick Cannon and Republican Edwin Peacock III are competing in the mayoral race.

That contest grew testy in the closing days of the campaign, with the candidates battling over the city’s financial support of the Carolina Panthers in their stadium renovations.

The mayoral hopefuls and their supporters will gather at Charlotte restaurants to watch returns, and, they hope, celebrate a victory. Cannon’s gathering is at the Sheraton Hotel in uptown Charlotte. Peacock’s party is at the Dilworth Grill.

Charlotte City Council seats also are up for grabs.

Mecklenburg County voters also will select six district members to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board, and a pair of big bond issues – for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and CPCC – also are on the ballot.

In Mecklenburg’s smaller towns, voters will select mayors and boards of town commissioners.

Many of the local mayors are unopposed, but nine-term incumbent George Fowler faces opposition in Pineville for the first time in at least a decade. Libby Boatwright and John Edwards are running against Fowler.

And longtime Huntersville Mayor Jill Swain faces a challenge from veteran political figure Jim Puckett.

In Cabarrus County, there are contested races for mayor in Harrisburg, Kannapolis and Midland.

Six-term incumbent Rudy Wright faces a challenge from Joseph “Jody” Inglefield for mayor in Hickory. Wright and Inglefield ran 1-2 in a six-way primary election Oct. 8.

In Cleveland County, there’s a field of nine candidates seeking four seats on the school board.

The Gaston County town of Cherryville, reeling from a series of scandals over the past two years, will elect a mayor and two council members. Incumbent Mayor Bob Austell is not running, so the race is among H.L. Beam, Paulette Gibson and Harvey Patterson.

In Stanly County, Albemarle voters will select a new mayor. Democrat Whit Whitley is not seeking re-election, and the race is between Democrat Ronnie Michael and Republican Chris Bramlett.

Union County has a number of contested races, with controversy helping build the fields in Indian Trail and Weddington.

But perhaps the most interesting Union County race is in Marvin, where there are no active candidates for mayor.

Incumbent Nick Dispenziere is not seeking re-election. The two men who filed for the seat, John Frazzini and Scott Ide, both dropped out.

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