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The Daily Tar Heel

Sheriff primary will end in runoff

Charles Blackwood will face David Caldwell in an upcoming runoff primary for Orange County Sheriff. 

Blackwood received more votes than Caldwell and four other Democratic candidates in the initial primary Tuesday night, but he did not receive the necessary 40 percent to be named sheriff. There was .36 percentage points between the two candidates. 

"This shows our government in action and how the democratic process is supposed to work," Caldwell said after the results came in.

Both Blackwood and Caldwell said they were happy with the election and looking forward to the runoff. 

"I don't think you can ask for better than that," Blackwood said of the results. "It's time to go back to work and we're ready to go."

Mark Chilton elected Register of Deeds

Mark Chilton, newly elected Register of Deeds for Orange County, campaigned on the promise of signing same-sex marriage licenses, and wants to introduce some new ideas as well. He challenged Sara Stephens and incumbent Deborah Brooks. 

Chilton said he is aware of media coverage of the same-sex marriage issue and acknowledges its importance, but he said it isn't why he ran for office. 

"I am running because I really want to be the Register of Deeds of Orange County,” he said.

He said Stephens introduced the idea of hiring more Spanish-speaking employees and he plans to act on the idea.

“I give her all credit to bringing that to the fore,” he said. "I’m not trying to shake-up the personnel or the department. But we will inevitably see some gradual turnover in the office, and as we do Spanish-speaking capabilities will be one of the capabilities we will be looking for.”

Chilton said he was proud of the campaigns run by both him and his competitors.

"Ms. Brooks and Ms. Stephens have run really good campaigns and we should afford each other a lot of respect," he said.

He said because no Republican candidate was in the race, winning tonight is essentially winning the position outright. Chilton still has to go through the general election in November, and the next Register will not take office until December — he said there is a big waiting game.

“I’m going to take up piano lessons,” he said.

Earl McKee and Barry Jacobs retain county commissioner seats

Earl McKee, vice chairman of the Orange County Board of Commissioners, won the primary for the District 2 seat. He said he was ecstatic not only for the win, but for what it means for the county's future. 

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"I think it's a validation for stands I've taken for the last three years," McKee said. 

One of these stands was his opposition to the proposed Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit Project. McKee said the project won't be helpful for the transit-dependent population, and the town needs to focus on improving the transit it already has. 

"I will continue to oppose the light rail for the immediate future until and unless we build out a comprehensive public transit system for those who need it the most," he said.

Other stances McKee had taken focused on narrowing the wealth gap and providing jobs for everyone from those with a Ph.D. to high school graduates. 

McKee also congratulated his opponent, Mark Marcoplos, for running a clean campaign and focusing on the issues. 

Barry Jacobs, incumbent chairman of the board of commissioners, won the primary for the at-large seat. He was not available for comment the night of the elections. 

Bethany Chaney will fill seat left by Lydia Lavelle

Bethany Chaney was elected to the unexpired term for the Carrboro Board of Aldermen, filling the seat left by current Mayor Lydia Lavelle after her election in November. 

She could not be reached for comment the night of the election.