Greensboro primary: District 4 analysis

Color code:

Hoffmann — blue
Rakestraw — red
Collins — purple

By Jordan Green and Eric Ginsburg

Challenger Nancy Hoffmann was the clear winner in early voting in the District 4 race, beginning the night with 50.7 percent, compared to 28.8 percent by incumbent Mary Rakestraw. But as more and more precincts came in on election night, Rakestraw crept to within 50 votes of Hoffmann.

This year’s election is shaping up as an extremely partisan contest although Greensboro City Council elections are nominally nonpartisan, with no indication of candidates’ party affiliation on the ballot. No contest is more partisan or evenly matched than District 4.

Hoffmann, a registered Democrat, performed most strongly in Precinct G48, which includes Lindley Park, a Democratic stronghold that Rakestraw attempted to eject from the district during a disastrous redistricting attempt. Hoffmann dominated a corridor between West Market Street and Spring Garden Street, including high-turnout G14, whose polling place is St. Andrews Episcopal Church. Hoffmann also enjoyed strong margins in a column of affluent, high-performing precincts west of Holden Road.

Rakestraw, a registered Republican, drew her largest pool of votes out of G32, whose polling place is located at Claxton Elementary School. Turnout in the Republican-leaning precinct slightly exceeded that in G14, and gave Rakestraw more than 10 percent of her total vote. Rakestraw also carried a number of Democratic-leaning precincts, including G50, a poorer, more racially diverse precinct with traditionally low turnout.

Tony Collins, another challenger, was eliminated in he primary, finishing a distant third. Collins carried only one precinct, G40A1, a Republican-leaning precinct near the intersection of New Garden Road and Bryan Boulevard. Collins enjoyed his strongest support in Republican-leaning precincts clustered in the northern tier that also delivered strong numbers for Rakestraw. A moderate Republican, Collins contrasted himself with Rakestraw more on tone than policy. While some of his supporters might switch to Hoffmann based on a desire for change or drop out, the numbers suggest they are Rakestraw’s to win over.

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