Incumbent Pam Hemminger has won reelection for her fourth term as mayor of Chapel Hill based on unofficial results.
She defeated Chapel Hill Town Council member Hongbin Gu and UNC law student Zachary Boyce for the position.
Hemminger won all 16 precincts that voted in Orange County on Tuesday. She finished with 5,876 votes in the county, winning 60.65 percent of the vote. Meanwhile Gu finished with 3,552 votes, 36.66 percent, and Boyce finished with 237, 2.45 percent.
Coming into the election, she was endorsed by five of seven Chapel Hill Town Council members for reelection.
Before Hemminger was first elected mayor in 2015, she served the Town of Chapel Hill for 30 years on both the Orange County Board of Commissioners and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education.
"I’m just very grateful for an amazing team, a supportive family, dedicated supporters and the voters of Chapel Hill," Hemminger said at her election results watch party Tuesday night. "And we will keep moving forward together."
Hemminger's platform included focuses on climate action, economic resiliency, housing affordability, parks and recreation and arts and culture, as well as equitable recovery from the impacts of COVID-19 for the Chapel Hill community.
During her upcoming term, Hemminger said she plans to make Chapel Hill more sustainable socially, economically and environmentally. She also said she will focus heavily on improving greenways and bikeways throughout her term.
“We're going to really make headway on our Climate Action Plan and on downtown revitalization — we've got to do that,” Hemminger said. “And we did the housing study and saw that we need more middle-income housing, so we're going to shift gears and aim for getting that in our community.”
The three pillars of Gu's platform were people-centered economic development, climate action and environment resilience and strong, inclusive community and public trust. She did not respond to The Daily Tar Heel's response for comment for a statement on election night.
Boyce said that running for mayor was a great learning opportunity that helped him raise awareness in the community about social inequity.
“I hope more students stay involved in the process because it's been really great to see interested students on campus be passionate about local government and understand how these processes affect them during their time as students in the community,” Boyce said.
Boyce added that as a student, he did not run a traditional campaign.
"Some people would say that I ran a low-key campaign and that I didn't do as much on the campaign, but what I did was research, and I researched the role and power of the mayor," Boyce said. "I learned a lot and I'm glad that I got to use the opportunity to raise awareness about economic reparations for slavery and Indigenous sovereignty."
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