GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – Guilford County’s Board of Commissioners will have one new face but mostly familiar ones when it is sworn in for 2023.
Republican Pat Tillman, a current member of the school board, won the open seat in District 3, beating Democrat Derek Mobley with 51.7% of the vote. Results are based on 100% of the county’s precincts reporting, but they are not official or final.
Tillman will join four incumbents who were re-elected for 4-year terms: veteran Republican Alan Perdue in District 2, Democrat Frankie T. Jones in District 7 and Democrat Kay Cashion in the at-large race.
Perdue beat challenger Paul Meinhart of Julian, 60.7% to 39.3%, and Jones overpowered Republican newcomer Kenneth Abbe of Greensboro, 79.5% to 20.5%. Cashion held off Jerry Alan Branson, who was trying his first county-wide race after losing his seat in District 4 after 8 years, by 58% to 42%%.
The board, made up of representatives for eight districts and one for the county at large, rotates some of its members’ 4-year terms every two years, and there are five spots available this year.
Technically only four were on the ballot because District 1 Commissioner Carlvena Foster, a Democrat from High Point, was unopposed.
Current board Chair Melvin “Skip” Alston, who represents District 8, will serve until 2024, as will District 4 Commissioner Mary Beth Murphy and District 5 Commissioner Carly Cooke, both Democrats, and District 6 Commissioner James Upchurch, who is one of three Republicans on the current board.
Tillman’s spot opened up because veteran Republican Justin Conrad did not seek re-election after serving 8 years.
In 2020, after voting districts changed somewhat, a board that long had been dominated by Republicans swung to a Democratic majority, which led to Alston and Foster, the vice chair, being voted into leadership.
One of the Republicans who lost out in that 2020 shift was Branson, who lost to Murphy by 72 votes out of more than 43,000 cast. After a litany of recounts and challenges, he conceded on Dec. 22, 2020, seven weeks after Election Day, saying he had run out of time.
In May, Branson handily won a primary (getting nearly 70% of the vote), and Cashion, who had been elected without opposition in 2018, endured a closer race in the Democratic primary.
Jones actually earned his seat in a special election in February to replace longtime board member Carolyn Coleman, who passed away.
He says his top priorities for a new term are “(1) education; (2) health and human services; (3) economic development; and (4) affordable housing.”
There is a lot going on in the county. Taxpayers’ overwhelming approval of a $1.7 billion bond to replace and rebuild crumbling schools across Guilford County, and the county also has been the benefactor of two significant economic developments: Toyota’s building of its first electric vehicle battery plant at the Greensboro Randolph Megasite and the announcement by Boom Supersonic that it will build its supersonic jet at a new factory at Piedmont Triad International Airport.