GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – It’s all but official: Nancy Vaughan will serve another four years as mayor of Greensboro.
Justin Outling, a member of the City Council who was challenging her re-election, conceded Monday afternoon, recognizing that his defeat by 1.3% would not be overcome by late-counted ballots.
Vaughan won on July 28 by 432 votes, getting 43.05% of the roughly 32,868 cast. Outling earned 41.74%, and write-in candidates took a surprising 15.21%.
Outling, who had represented District 3 since being appointed in 2015, had declined to concede, citing the tight margin, but on Monday he issued a statement saying that he recognized he couldn’t overcome the deficit.
“Based on the small number of provisional, absentee, and absentee military ballots remaining, it is apparent that Nancy Vaughan will be re-elected mayor of Greensboro,” he said. “With an historically close race and a margin of only 1.3% between the votes for the incumbent mayor and myself, it was important to wait to make a statement until the outcome was clear.”
Outling’s statement included no congratulatory comments, and Vaughan, who has been mayor since 2013 and served on City Council before that, told WGHP that she had not heard from Outling or seen his statement.
Both candidates were focused passionately and debated vociferously on three primary issues affecting Greensboro: affordable housing, crime rates and bridging the perceived “East Greensboro-West Greensboro divide.”
Greensboro recently has been buoyed by two huge employment announcements that will add thousands of good-paying jobs: the Toyota battery plant at the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite and the manufacturing facility for Boom Supersonic’s hypersonic passenger jet.
Along with Vaughan, all the incumbents on City Council were re-elected: At-large candidates Yvonne Johnson, Marikay Abuzuaiter and Hugh Holston and district reps Sharon Hightower (District 1), Goldie Wells (District 2), Nancy Hoffmann (District 4) and Tammi Thurm (District 5). Zach Matheny, Outling’s predecessor, will serve again in District 3.
Only Wells (51.54%) won by less than 12%. Holston took the third at-large seat by just more than 300 votes.
All vote totals require certification by the Guilford County Board of Elections. After canvassing all votes, the board is scheduled to meet at 11 a.m. Friday.
‘More voices must be heard’
“I feel a deep sense of gratitude to each of you,” Outling said. “Whether you volunteered, made donations to the campaign, or expressed your support at the polls, I hope I have lived up to the confidence you showed in me.
“The issues I care about which motivated me to run (the widening gaps between Greensboro and its peers and between East and West Greensboro), and the challenges Greensboro faces, remain. To meet them, more voices must be heard, there must be more discussion about the issues we face, and there is a need for more transparency and accountability at all levels of government. To that end, I intend to remain involved and advocate for the issues I care about.
“I remain humbled and deeply indebted to you for your support.”
Vaughan has been mayor since 2013, but she first was elected to the City Council in 1997. After a 2-term break, she served again in 2009 before running for mayor. A former student at Fairfield University in Connecticut, she has worked in a variety of business and nonprofit roles.
In the walk-up to the election, she listed as her top priorities:
- Affordable housing: “Our plan has four priorities: provide affordable rental homes, reinvest in our neighborhoods, provide access to homeownership and provide permanent supportive housing.”
- Workforce development” “I will ensure that our recent economic development announcements [Toyota and Boom] will benefit the people of Greensboro.”
- Public safety: “People across our city deserve to live in an environment free of fear. I have worked closely with the Greensboro Police Department and community groups to build relationships and trust.”