Dana Outlaw defeats Sabrina Bengel for New Bern mayor - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Dana Outlaw defeats Sabrina Bengel for New Bern mayor

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In New Bern, it was a close race between two mayoral candidates, with a surprising end result.

Alderman Dana Outlaw caught up from behind and defeated alderman Sabrina Bengel by just 237 votes.

Outlaw won 52 percent of the vote to Bengel's 48 percent. Nearly 5,300 voted in the mayoral election.

Just a month ago, Bengel, the New Bern mayor pro tem, was the frontrunner in the race after she and Outlaw beat four other candidates to compete in the runoff election.

Outlaw says he campaigned hard to overcome the challenges of being the underdog.

"About a week ago, I had to put a piece of duct tape on that shoe there, because I made a point for the last 30 days to get out and meet the people," said Outlaw.

Outlaw says after getting a new pair of shoes, his first order of business as mayor is meeting with the city manager and staff.

"I really want them to help me get the word out and make sure we'll all on the same page," he said.

 Bengel declared defeat shortly after 8 PM on Tuesday.

"Of course I'm disappointed," said Bengel. "I'm disappointed for all the people who have really worked hard on my campaign."

Bengel says when her term as alderman expires next month, it will likely be the end of her political career, at least for a while.

"I called him. I said congratulations and if I could be of service to you in any way, let me know," said Bengel.

"I told her thank you. And you know, we had a good four years of working together," said Outlaw.

While Bengel prepares to spend more time with family at the end of her alderman term, Outlaw will prepare to lead the city for the next four years.

Outlaw's first day in office is December 10. He replaces outgoing mayor Lee Bettis.

To see full election results on all the races in Craven County, check out: http://results.enr.clarityelections.com/NC/Craven/48687/121845/Web01/en/summary.html

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Voters in flocked to the polling booths on Tuesday to cast their ballot for mayor.

Aldermen Dana Outlaw and Sabrina Bengel beat four other candidates last month to compete in the runoff election. On Tuesday, voters will narrow their choice down to one.

Meloni Wray with the Craven County Board of Elections office says voting has been a smooth process across all precincts.

More than 1,500 people cast their ballots on Tuesday alone.

"We need someone new that's determined to improve this city. It needs a lot of improvements and I think this is a very important race and changes do need to be made," said NewBern voter Judy T. Holton.

Polls opened at 6:30 this morning and will close at 7:30 PM. Tune in to 9 OnYour Side at 10 and 11 PM for the latest election results.

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