It's hard to say what the big takeaway might be from municipal elections across the state yesterday. The larger part of the outcome was surely determined by local issues.
In Greensboro's nonpartisan election, Nancy Vaughan easily ousted one-term mayor Robbie Perkins thanks to higher turnout on the west side of the city and voters' preference for a more deliberative approach to transformative undertakings such as the proposed downtown performing arts center.
In Winston-Salem's partisan election, voters ratified efforts to sustain fragile downtown development under the Democratic majority by reelecting incumbents by wide margins, including Mayor Allen Joines, whose Republican challenger was considered an embarrassment to his party. Durham voters also reelected a veteran Democrat, Bill Bell, as mayor.
In the state's largest city, Charlotte — whose mayoral stock has produced both Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and Democratic US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx — voters chose Democrat Patrick Cannon for the top slot on council. In Fayetteville, Republican Nat Robertson eked out a narrow victory to become the city's next mayor.
If there's one storyline, it would be that it was a good night for Young Democrats of North Carolina, a party organization whose members are under the age of 36.
The organization is celebrating the election of Andy Ball as the next mayor of Boone, with second billing for Jamal Fox's upset win over Jim Kee for the District 2 city council seat in Greensboro. A Young Democrats press release states that "Jim Kee used deplorable tactics to try and push Jamal Fox" out of the race.
Perhaps more remarkable, Montravius King, a university student whose residency was challenged by a local Republican board of elections member, won election to the Elizabeth City City Council, along with fellow Young Democrat Darius Horton.
The press release also noted that Winston-Salem voters returned Derwin Montgomery and James Taylor to city council. Other Young Democrats who celebrated victories last night include Zeb Smathers in Canton, Chris Rey in Spring Lake, Calvin J. Harris Jr. in Oxford, Kady Ann Davy in Fayetteville, Ryan Stone in Black Mountain, and Jennifer Pena and Quint David in Boone.
Jamal Fox, Andy Ball and Zeb Smathers have all previously served as officers of Young Democrats.
"Republican efforts to disenfranchise young voters in Boone, Elizabeth City and across North Carolina backfired," Young Democrats President Sam Spencer said in a prepared statement. "Instead, Republicans have conceded millennial voters in this and future elections while inspiring a wave of Young Democrats to take office."