Mitch Colvin, Nat Robertson advance in Fayetteville mayor race
Oct. 11--Mayor Pro Tem Mitch Colvin received the most votes in Tuesday's primary for Fayetteville mayor, finishing ahead of incumbent Nat Robertson by more than 1,700 votes.
The two will advance to the Nov. 7 general election.
Colvin, a two-term member of the City Council and a business owner, said he was cautiously optimistic after his first-place finish.
"I'm excited, but I don't want to take anything for granted," Colvin said Tuesday night at the Cumberland County Department of Social Services, where candidates gathered to await the results. "The real work starts tomorrow."
According to complete but unofficial returns, Colvin received 5,803 votes; Robertson, 4,073; City Councilman Kirk deViere, 2,770; and community activist Quancidine Gribble, 241.
Colvin said he focused on meeting as many people as possible during the primary election season and learning what the concerns of residents are.
"They are tired of their elected officials not working together," he said. "I look forward to working with the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners and the Board of Education."
Colvin added that he hopes to find new ways to address poverty in the region.
"Councilman deViere did a great job by bringing the issue of poverty to the table," Colvin said.
Robertson said business and experience separate him from Colvin. A physician liaison, Robertson has spent two terms as mayor and was a four-term city councilman.
"I'm a little more pro-business than he is, and I have a record of leadership in the community," Robertson said.
Robertson said he felt confident after Tuesday given that his campaign didn't spend much money on advertising during the primary. He said he sent out one round of mail advertisements and had a volunteer-run phone bank.
"We have $70,000 in the bank," Robertson said. "I think for us to have such a solid second place finish with such an organic campaign, we are going to have a really good showing in November."
DeViere, the owner and president of a marketing, advertising and public relations agency who has been on the City Council for one term, congratulated Robertson and Colvin on advancing to the November election. He unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2013.
"Of course, we're disappointed, but we felt we ran a great race, one that created conversation in the community specifically about the inequalities we see everyday here," deViere said.
DeViere said he will continue to work on Pathways for Prosperity, a poverty reduction initiative he and Councilman Larry Wright have been working on together.
"I will still be a part of that whether elected or not elected," deViere said.
Gribble, who finished fourth, said she felt privileged to run for mayor. She said the results didn't come as a surprise.
"I've always been the underdog," Gribble said.
Gribble said she will continue to fight for the rights of residents. "It doesn't end tonight," she said. "It starts tonight."
There were 12,923 ballots cast of the 129,970 eligible voters in the primary, meaning 9.94 percent of eligible voters participated in the primary.
Cumberland County Board of Elections Director Terri Robertson said municipal primary elections typically draw 10 percent of eligible voters.
"It's a normal turnout for a municipal primary," she said.
She added that everything went smoothly at the polls throughout the day.
"We had no problems," she said.
Staff writer Monica Vendituoli can be reached at email@example.com or 486-3596.