Former Mecklenburg County commissioners’ chair Pat Cotham was the top vote-getter Tuesday for three at-large seats.
Cotham claimed 29.2 percent of the vote, followed by current chair Trevor Fuller with 25.4 percent and Ella Scarborough with 25 percent. All three are Democrats.
Republican Jeremy Brasch, in his first bid for elected office, trailed with 20.4 percent of the at-large vote. The full board now has six Democrats and three Republicans.
In District 5, the only contested district, Republican incumbent Matthew Ridenhour defeated Democrat Marc Friedland.
Democrats enjoy a hefty advantage in Mecklenburg, with 45 percent of registered voters compared to 25 percent for Republicans. Thirty percent are independents.
The board's main duties are to set annual budgets and property tax rates and create priorities in key areas including health, education, welfare and mental health. Commissioners serve two-year terms.
Cotham, 66, elected in 2012, often works across party lines and is an ubiquitous presence at community events across the county.
But her relationships with fellow Democrats on the board are strained. They unseated her as chair for 2014 after a tumultuous year that saw former county manager Harry Jones fired and problems erupt with property revaluations.
“I just find my own way to make a difference," the former worker advocate and corporate recruiter has said.
Fuller, 49, was elected chairman in 2013 and has held the chair since then despite finishing third among at-large commissioners two years ago.
Fuller, an attorney, has called for a task force to address economic disparities that keep many of Charlotte’s poor children in poverty. He supports universal pre-kindergarten education and county job-training programs to help fill local jobs.
The Charlotte Executive Leadership Council, formed last year by some of the city's top executives, announced in October that it will pay for a $500,000 study of expanding access to early childhood education in the county.
Scarborough, 70, won her first term as a county commissioner in 2014 but served five terms on Charlotte City Council, where she was the first black woman to win an at-large seat.
The retired Duke Energy manager chairs the board's economic development committee and has been a voice for finding jobs for local unemployed people.
Brasch, 42, a financial systems analyst, has said he would bring a moderate viewpoint to the board. He advocated adjusting property tax rates to suit specific county objectives, such as creating incentives to spur redevelopment or give taxpayers a reason to stay in Mecklenburg.
Ridenhour, 39, a conservative Republican who represents a GOP-leaning district, was first elected in 2012 after unsuccessfully running for Charlotte City Council as a tea party candidate in 2009.
Friedland, 67, is a past chairman of the Mecklenburg County Democratic Party. He founded Talley's Green Grocery, Charlotte's first natural foods supermarket, and plunged into politics after closing the store.
Jeremy Brasch, R 19.59%
Pat Cotham, D (i) 29.35%
Trevor Fuller, D (i) 25.74%
Ella Scarborough, D (i) 25.31%
Marc Friedland, D 42.69%
Matthew Ridenhour, R (i) 57.31%
Results as of 9:55 p.m.