As municipal elections were held across the state Tuesday, Dunn residents turned out in light numbers to cast their ballots for all municipal seats on the city’s governing body. Unofficial results indicate the restoration of nearly all incumbents, with the exception of one seat, and perhaps a run-off for another.
Voters overwhelmingly decided to return incumbent Mayor Oscar Harris to his fifth term as city mayor.
Mayor Harris will become the longest-serving mayor when he is sworn in for his fifth term at the head of the city board. He defeated challenger Mark “Cowboy” Wilkins by a 837 to 157 ballot count, garnering 83.33 percent of the vote.
“I am really disappointed by the turnout, but I am certainly excited with the results,” said Mayor Harris. “ I want to thank the people of Dunn for allowing me to serve another four years.”
Mayor Harris has served 16 years as mayor of the city in addition to two terms in the N.C. Senate.
The only upset of the evening was for the Ward 2 council seat held by Carnell Robinson, who received 78 votes, or 39.8 percent. He was defeated by challenger Gwendolyn McNeill, who garnered 118 votes for a 60.2 percent lead. Ms. McNeill lost to Mr. Robinson 125-147 in the 2011 election.
In a tight race for Ward 3, incumbent Frank McLean edged out challenger Fred Chavis by a 63 to 61 vote margin. Mr. McLean’s lead equaled 50.4 percent of the vote. In the Ward 1 race for Dunn council member, incumbent Buddy Maness received 125 votes or 83.33 percent to challenger Ben Nuesmeyer’s 25 or 16.67 percent.
In the council seat for Ward 4, incumbent Chuck Turnage won re-election by 193 votes or 78.14 percent to 53 votes, 21.46 percent, for challenger Keith Williams.
In the three-person council race for Ward 6, incumbent Billy Barfield received the most votes with 162 votes or 78.26 percent followed by Thomas Jernigan with 26 votes or 12.56 percent and then Robert Brooks with 19 votes, or 9.18 percent.
Incumbent councilman and local businessman Billy Tart Ward 4 ran unopposed to maintain his seat on the council. A runoff, if necessary, will be held Nov. 3.