Vaughan and Outling advance in Greensboro mayoral race | local government
GREENSBORO — Mayor Nancy Vaughan and District 3 Councilor Justin Outling will battle for the seat of mayor in the July 26 general election, according to full, unofficial results.
With the 165 constituencies counted, Vaughan had garnered almost 45% of the vote, followed by Outling with just over 35%. Only the top two candidates run in the city’s general election.
Lawyer Mark Cummings came in third with more than 10% and commercial designer Eric Robert garnered just under 10% of the vote.
The mayor serves a four-year term and receives an annual salary of $30,932.
“I’m very pleased with the results,” said Vaughan, who watched the election results while eating pizza with family and friends in a small group. “It shows that our positive messaging has worked.”
Outling, who hosted a campaign party at Double Oaks Bed & Breakfast, said he thought the vote tally showed weakening support for Vaughan’s leadership as mayor.
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“I feel good about where we are right now,” Outling, 39, said, adding he thinks he can win over voters who backed Cummings and Robert. “I think it shows voters are ready for new leadership in the city.”
Cummings and Robert could not be reached for comment late Tuesday evening.
Vaughan operates on a platform of improving public safety, economic development and jobs, affordable housing, and maintaining Greensboro’s quality of life. She touted her role in bringing in Toyota, Boom Supersonic and the Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts during her time as mayor.
The 61-year-old is seeking her fourth term as mayor and was first elected to the position in 2013. She has also served four terms as a councillor. A real estate broker with Allen Tate Realtors, Vaughan is divorced with two sons and a daughter.
Outling, a legal partner at Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, is seeking his first term as mayor. He is married and has a 10 year old son and a 9 year old daughter.
He was appointed to the city council in June 2015 and was re-elected twice. Outling operates on a platform that it will provide effective leadership, a safer city, and grow Greensboro’s economy.
Vaughan wondered if Outling could be effective as mayor because his law firm works on behalf of the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite Foundation. Outling recuses itself from voting on contracts involving the site because of its company’s relationship with the foundation.
Outling criticized Vaughan for voting in 2019 to deny a $250,000 Justice Department grant to the cities of Greensboro and High Point and Guilford County due to concerns that the terms of the grant would force law enforcement order to release immigration status information to federal officials. The mayor voted with the full council to accept a similar grant the following year after hearing that the police department had not collected such information.
Cummings, 40, had hoped to return to public life after serving as a Guilford County District Court judge and unsuccessfully running for Guilford County Superior Court judge in 2018. He was at the remission of her twin daughters’ kindergarten graduations when election results began rolling in early Tuesday night.
Cummings served as a district court judge from 2016 until March 2019, when North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley suspended him amid reports of misconduct. Cummings agreed to step down from his district court seat at the end of 2019 and never seek court office again, although he denies the allegations.
Robert (pronounced row-bear), 57, was making his first run for political office. Partner and commercial designer at QUB Studios, Robert ran on a platform to bring transparency and creative problem solving to municipal government. In April, he filed a lawsuit against the city to compel it to quickly turn over public records, including those relating to gun shows at Greensboro Coliseum.
Contact Kenwyn Caranna at 336-373-7082 and follow @kcaranna on Twitter.