Jan 23, 2024 - News

Here's who is running to be Raleigh's next mayor

Illustration of a gavel made out of an acorn.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Raleigh appears ready to have a competitive race for mayor this fall.

Driving the news: On Monday, Janet Cowell — the CEO of the Dix Park Conservancy as well as a former state treasurer and Raleigh City Council member — launched her campaign for mayor of the City of Oaks.

  • Cowell enters the race with the endorsements of former mayors Charles Meeker and Nancy McFarlane and is already busy raising campaign funds.

Why it matters: The news may come as a blow to Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin's potential re-election campaign on the heels of her 2022 race, in which she ran just six points ahead of political newcomer Terrance Ruth, who received close to 41% of the vote.

  • The race was also close despite Baldwin's massive fundraising advantage — she brought in well over $600,000 compared to Ruth's $30,000.
  • Up against a well-established political figure like Cowell, Baldwin could be facing a tougher race for re-election this year.

State of play: The 2022 race centered on how Raleigh will manage its growth, with plans to allow more housing types in some of the city's oldest neighborhoods being one of the hottest debates.

  • That same debate looks likely to continue into this year's election.

Who is running: Here is who has declared plans to run for mayor or is still considering a run.

  • The filing deadline to run is July 19 and the election will be Nov. 5.

Incumbent Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin: Baldwin has not officially launched her re-election campaign — though she has held some fundraising dinners last year.

  • She has previously said that she will decide in the spring though indicated she is likely going to run again.

Dix Park Conservancy CEO Janet Cowell: Cowell has helped run Dix Park's philanthropic and planning arm for the past three years.

  • Prior to that she has worked in finance; served as N.C. State Treasurer from 2009 to 2016; was a state senator representing Wake County from 2005 to 2009; and a Raleigh City Council member from 2001 to 2004.

Council Member Corey Branch: Branch announced he would run for mayor last October after representing Southeast Raleigh on the city council for the past nine years.

Mortgage broker Paul Fitts: Fitts, so far the lone Republican candidate in the nonpartisan race, told The News & Observer in December he would run.

Local activist Delmonte Crawford: Crawford has been campaigning for the position since last summer.

Student James Shaughnessy IV: Shaughnessy, a pre-law student at William Peace University, has also launched a campaign for mayor.


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