The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday January 21st

Incumbents Win Commissioner Bids

They made the point by sending all three Democratic incumbent candidates for the three open commissioner seats on to the November general election.

Alice Gordon garnered the most votes in the primary with 10,156, or 29.3 percent. She said her past actions, not her words, were what put her over the top.

"My record for excellent schools and environmental protection, just good government in general, is what saw me through," she said. "I have several accomplishments in those areas, so I didn't run on just my words but my records. I'm pleased the people sent me back so emphatically."

Board chairman Barry Jacobs was the second place vote-getter with 9,584, or 27.6 percent. He said he was pleased with the result of the election but concerned by the turnout of UNC students.

"I'm sorry the students didn't vote -- doesn't look like they turned out at all," he said. "It's one of the most discouraging things to not see students out at the polls."

Jacobs said it is the job of the county to reach out to students but said the answers wouldn't be easy to come by.

"It is important that we connect students to the local government that directly affects them," he said. "We're going to have to do some collective thinking to figure this out."

Jacobs said that while he wishes students would participate in local government more, he can sympathize with their attitude.

"When I was in college, I didn't care about local government, I paid attention to the president and maybe Congress," he said. "I don't know if it's because the campus is so insulated or they just don't care."

Stephen Halkiotis, the third-place finisher with 8,579, or 24.7 percent of the vote, said he doesn't think student turnout had anything to do with apathy.

"I'd be curious to find out how many students voted absentee ballots with their home areas," he said. "I'd bet a lot of students sent in absentee."

Overall, Halkiotis said he was pleased with the results.

"It's an affirmation of the good work the Orange County commissioners have been doing," he said. "It's a vote of confidence from the voters. Citizens are pleased with the work."

Keith Cook, who was eliminated but still took 6,360 votes for 18.3 percent, said he thinks his campaign served a valuable purpose.

"I hope some of the issues I put on the table, like diversifying the tax base, hopefully the Orange County commissioners will look at where our future is going," he said. "I hope they look how we can continue to promote quality of life without continuing to raise taxes."

Cook praised his former opponents for running fair, issue-oriented campaigns.

As for the incumbents, Halkiotis summed up the race until November.

"There are three Democrat incumbents and two Republican challengers," he said.

"All I can say is: Bring it on."

The City Editor can be reached at citydesk@unc.edu.

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