Dec 15, 2022 - News

How Raleigh's neighborhoods split in the 2022 mayoral race

Data: North Carolina State Board of Elections; Map: Madison Dong/Axios Visuals

Newly released precinct level data is giving a clearer picture of how Raleigh voted in last month's mayoral election.

Why it matters: The data, provided by the state Board of Election, gives a glimpse of how different neighborhoods navigated an election dominated by the topic of how the city should grow.

  • While Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin won re-election — garnering 47% of the vote to challengers Terrance Ruth's 41% and DaQuanta Copeland's 10% — she lost her majority on the council that had helped her push through much of her agenda.

Driving the news: Baldwin lost several precincts in some of Raleigh's most expensive and oldest neighborhoods in Districts E (northwest Raleigh and neighborhoods north of downtown) and D (west Raleigh and parts of downtown) that she won in 2019.

  • The Five Points area became a hot spot of opposition to Baldwin's reform of rezoning laws, which made the construction of duplexes and townhomes legal by-right in most of the city rather than just single-family homes.
  • Many of those precincts are located in District E, which elected City Council newcomer Christina Jones over incumbent and Baldwin ally David Knight.

What they're saying: Frank Hielema, a Five Points resident and organizer of the Save Our Neighborhoods group, which opposed zoning reform, told Axios dismay over potential added density in traditional single-family neighborhoods flipped voters in District E.

  • One specific project that would tear down a historic home at 908 Williamson Dr. and replace it with 17 new townhomes lit the powder keg, he said. Because of zoning reforms, that project no longer needs to win a rezoning.
  • "That [project] stimulated the citizens in this neighborhood and those around us into action," he said.

Yes, but: Baldwin, who raised significantly more money than other candidates, kept it close in many of the neighborhoods she lost, made gains in Southeast Raleigh and won much of North Raleigh, which helped her clinch victory.

What's next: Baldwin knows that the Raleigh City Council will debate more in the coming months than it has in previous years, when votes often went her way 7-1.

  • Newcomers to the council will "have to communicate to us some of the things they want to achieve and we need to work together," she said in the moments after winning re-election.

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