Nov 9, 2022 - Politics

Raleigh Mayor Baldwin re-elected but faces divided city council

Photo illustration collage of Mary-Ann Baldwin with abstract shapes and the city of Raleigh.

Photo illustration: Maura Losch/Axios. Photo courtesy of the City of Raleigh

Mary-Ann Baldwin secured another term as Raleigh's mayor — but she faces the prospect of a divided City Council for the first time.

Why it matters: Up to this point, Baldwin and a majority of the council have worked in lockstep, meaning Baldwin's policy preferences have been easy to push through.

  • Together they've changed zoning laws to allow more dense development in traditionally single-family neighborhoods, and disbanded the citizen advisory council system — both decisions that were made with the goal of increasing housing in the growing city.

What happened: Baldwin got roughly 47% of the vote, while challenger Terrance Ruth received nearly 41% and DaQuanta Copeland nabbed around 10%.

  • Council incumbents such as District C's Corey Branch, and at-large candidates Jonathan Melton and Stormie Denise Forte were also reelected.
  • Newcomers to the council will include Megan Patton in District B, Jane Harrison (District D), Mary Black (District A) and Christina Jones, who beat incumbent David Knight in District E.
  • Patton, Harrison, Jones and Black were all endorsed by Livable Raleigh, a group that opposed many of Baldwin's policy decisions.

What she's saying: "I'm looking forward to getting together with the new council members," Baldwin told reporters at the Player's Retreat bar.

  • "We have to keep in mind this isn't about politics and it's not about campaigning. This is about governance and we have to come together and govern," she added. "They have to communicate to us some of the things they want to achieve and we need to work together."

Melton said the night's election result should mean the council's choices on zoning reform will hold.

  • Policy changes "have to have time to take hold and take effect, so we can see impact on the city," he told Axios. "I hope over the next two years we can take an assessment of the changes we've made, see what we need to do next and then keep building a city that is more affordable, more sustainable and less car dependent."

What's next: Baldwin said her priorities for her next term are to continue expansion of the housing supply, adding commuter rail and public transit options, reducing gun violence and implementing the $275 million park bond passed by voters.


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