Nearly all North Carolina counties are holding elections Tuesday for municipal and school board races and local referenda from the mountains to the coast.
As usual, the odd-numbered year elections in the state highlight mayoral elections in some of North Carolina's largest cities — some officially partisan and others nonpartisan.
Charlotte voters are deciding Tuesday on whether Democrat Patrick Cannon or Republican Edwin Peacock should succeed Anthony Foxx, the former mayor who is now U.S. Transportation Secretary. Patsy Kinsey, who filled the remainder of Foxx's term, decided not to run for mayor but faced no opposition in returning to the city council.
Cannon, the mayor pro tempore, first joined the city council 20 years ago and stands to benefit from the fact that the city has about twice as many registered Democrat voters as Republicans. Peacock, who ran unsuccessfully for the 9th Congressional District seat last year, has campaigned as a moderate Republican in a city that elected current GOP Gov. Pat McCrory mayor a record seven times.
McCrory hasn't gotten publicly involved in the race, but Peacock is getting help from McCrory 2012 gubernatorial campaign manager Russell Peck. Peck now works for a public affairs and consulting firm.
There will also be new mayors in Asheville and Fayetteville, where current incumbents declined to seek re-election. Val Appelwhite or Nat Robertson will succeed four-term Mayor Tony Chavonne in Fayetteville, while Vice Mayor Esther Manheimer and former city employee John Miall are vying to succeed two-term Mayor Terry Bellamy in Asheville.
Greensboro is choosing whether to keep Robbie Perkins as mayor or pick city councilwoman Nancy Vaughan, who led last month's primary. Perkins, who upset the incumbent mayor two years ago, filed for bankruptcy this year.
Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines and Durham Mayor Bill Bell, both Democrats, also are seeking re-election.
Scores of other towns and cities also are electing mayors and council members, while the Charlotte-Mecklenburg and a handful of counties are choosing school board members.
Voters also are being asked to decide on whether to authorize public school bonds, community college bonds or both in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Johnston, Pitt and Onslow counties. Harnett and Yadkin county voters will consider an optional sales tax referendum, while alcohol questions are on other local ballots.
The State Board of Elections web site says there are more than 1,100 races and questions on ballots in 94 counties Tuesday.
Early voting occurred during the 2½ weeks ending Saturday. The fall election cycle was not affected by a bill approved by the legislature and signed by McCrory over the summer that reduced the early voting period by seven days and requires photo identification to vote. The law, which is now being challenged in multiple lawsuits, won't require photo ID until 2016, and early-voting changes begin in 2014.
Still, student-led group called NC Vote Defenders said Monday they'll monitor polling sites Tuesday near some college campuses, while Common Cause said it will ramp up its current "election protection" program at historically black colleges and universities. Both groups oppose the election overhaul law.