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The Daily Tar Heel

Bridge the divide: Close race means mayor-elect Kleinschmidt should work with Czajkowski-oriented business community

 The race is over. The election is won, and now it’s time for us as a town to come together behind mayor-elect Mark Kleinschmidt.

That being said, it’s important that Kleinschmidt realize he’s dealing with a divided electorate — two groups that have distinctly different visions for Chapel Hill’s economic future.

There’s the side that embraces the direction Chapel Hill is currently headed in, and another constituency, which voted for Matt Czajkowski, that wants a more business-oriented future for Chapel Hill.

People have noted that those labels aren’t entirely accurate, and those people might be right. But regardless of their accuracy, those labels stuck.

And that’s how people in the town saw the two candidates.

Kleinschmidt already seems to be keenly aware of this divide.

He told The Daily Tar Heel last week that he thinks the economic issues were what truly divided the campaign.

He’s right, and he’ll need to lead accordingly.

Kleinschmidt has promised to bring Chapel Hill together, and one of the first ways he’s seeking to do that is by gaining more support from the business community.

More of these commitments will be necessary to unify this town’s competing visions, and we trust Kleinschmidt realizes that.

But as he begins planning for his two-year term as mayor, Kleinschmidt should keep in mind that he won by the lowest margin in recent Chapel Hill history.

That doesn’t, and shouldn’t, undermine his leadership as our mayor.

Kleinschmidt made a name for himself by bridging gaps and seeking compromise.

Those skills he’s been refining for the past eight years on the Town Council will be crucial as the town seeks to put its election season differences aside and support its new mayor.

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