Challenger Fred Smith defeated a two-term incumbent in the race for Mecklenburg Register of Deeds, a little known office catapulted into the limelight by the debate over marriage.
Smith, a 20-year government employee, defeated David Granberry by 59.58 percent to 40.42 percent.
The office, adjacent to the Mecklenburg courthouse, stores real estate and business-related documents, and supplies copies of birth and death certificates. It also issues marriage license, which made the office a battleground during the same-sex marriage fight last year.
The legislature passed a bill that will allow registers and other elected officials from opting out of any of their duties that conflict with their spiritual beliefs. But Granberry and Smith both said same-sex marriage should remain legal in the state and elected officials should follow their oath to support the law and the state and U.S. constitutions.
Granberry, 54, campaigned on his experience and his role in completing some needed improvements to the office that were launched under his supervision.
Smith, 50, whose public jobs ranged from public defender investigator to probation/parole officer, said he could improve the office, based on internal audits of how things have been done.
Tuesday’s winner will capture the office. There is no Republican opposition.
David Granberry (i) 40.42%
Fred Smith 59.58%
195 of 195 precincts reporting