Incumbent Steve Martin
  • Incumbent Steve Martin
Natalie Beyer
  • Natalie Beyer

With only provisional ballots left to be counted, 21,097 voters cast their ballots in the primaries and school board elections in Durham. That’s just over 12 percent, which is just under the state turnout of about 14 percent. See Durham’s unofficial results.

In races for Durham’s school board, the most exciting contest came down to District 4B, where two-term incumbent Steve Martin faced three other candidates. This was the first election in which Martin has had an opponent.

Martin earned about 37 percent of the votes Tuesday, which means he fell just short of the 40 percent “substantial plurality” threshold that would have called the race in his favor. Because Martin didn’t reach 40 percent, second-place finisher Natalie Beyer, who earned 33.66 percent (just 188 votes behind Martin) has the right to request a runoff.

Beyer plans to meet with the Durham County Board of Elections staff on Wednesday to learn about her runoff option, she said.

“I’m very humbled to feel a lot of support from the community,” said Beyer, who gathered with campaign workers at Tyler’s Taproom in the American Tobacco campus.

Across town, Martin said he didn’t do much campaigning, and that the entire elections process was a new experience for him because his past two elections were unopposed.

“I’m gratified that folks recognize the work I’ve done in the last two terms and saw fit to vote for me,” Martin said. He added that he spoke to Beyer just after the last precinct was reported to wish her a happy birthday. They didn’t talk about whether she’ll seek a runoff, Martin said.

“Whatever she decides, it’s her right to make a decision,” Martin said.

In District 3B, Nancy Cox beat competitor Christine Baker by a landslide, earning 77 percent of the votes. This was Baker’s first try for public office in Durham, and Cox’s third time running for school board here. Cox will replace current board member Kirsten Kainz, who served one term.

In Durham’s remaining two school board races, the incumbents both appear to have won second terms. In District 2A, Pastor Fredrick Davis won more than 63 percent of the vote, shutting out challenger Regina Stanley King, who earned just over 35 percent.

The race was a little more heated in District 1A, where retired school media coordinator Omega Curtis Parker appears to have held onto her seat. With 46.71 percent of the votes, Parker is just 207 votes ahead of Donald Hughes, who earned 40.97 percent of the turnout. It’s unclear whether those uncounted provisional ballots could bring these candidates closer when they’re counted at the end of the week. Results will not be final until next week.

According to a finance report for the first quarter of the year, Hughes raised more than $6,000 this election cycle, outspending Parker, who signed a document stating she intended to spend or raise less than $1,000 on her campaign.