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Jim Butler, Ian Baltutis reflect on Burlington mayoral race after Butler’s win

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BURLINGTON, N.C. (WGHP) — Jim Butler beat incumbent Ian Baltutis to become Burlington’s next mayor.

Both candidates were impressed by the voter turnout.

“When I first started running for office in 2013, we were looking to overcome voter apathy, at that point we were seeing less than 5% of voters participate in elections,” Baltutis said.

This year Burlington saw an uptick. According to the North Carolina State Board of Elections, 18% of voters cast their ballot.

“That’s a hyper-aware voter out there that says, ‘You know what we need to move in a little bit different direction,'” Butler said.

This time, that 18% voted largely for Jim Butler.

“I have a very common sense, a very practical approach, I think it’s a real-life view,” Butler said. “The political narrative of the state can sometimes creep into your municipal government and that’s just not what we are.”

Baltutis says he has a lot to be proud of in his six years as mayor.

“Whether it was strategic planning, transportation planning, shaping designs for parks and playgrounds, or even downtown and economic development, we engaged people at all levels of the process,” Baltutis said.

Butler is looking to keep getting more people in the community involved and plans to bring more attention to Burlington businesses.

“Businesses are hanging on, which is our core and our backbone for the City of Burlington, and we need to be sure as a city we’re taking pressure off of them, not putting pressure on them,” Butler said.

There were also two city council seats up for grabs on Tuesday. Former city manager Harold Owen won re-election. Ronnie Wall is also back on the city council after a break from politics. Wall is a former mayor of the city.

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