Mayor: Nancy McFarlane
After some suspense, Charles Francis announced Sunday that he would seek a runoff against three-term incumbent Nancy McFarlane. “The results did not produce a decisive outcome,” he told reporters. (True, as McFarlane got 48.5 percent of the vote, not 50 percent plus one.) “A runoff election is not divisive,” he continued, “it’s democracy.” (True again.) “The people of Raleigh deserve an opportunity to speak clearly.” (Fine by us.)
Francis has positioned himself as the champion of those left behind by Raleigh’s boom, the people who care less about the newest hot-shit restaurant than about making ends meet.
It’s good to have a candidate raise issues of equity. The problem is, Francis hasn’t made a persuasive case that he could do a better job than McFarlane. And while the mayor has shortcomings, the city isn’t on those seemingly endless Best Whatever lists for nothing. Also, McFarlane locking down the deal for Dix Park, despite the state’s foot-dragging, is nothing to sneeze at.
In short, this isn’t the right time to switch horses. That being said, should she prevail, McFarlane would do well to keep Francis’s supportersthose who haven’t shared in the city’s recent prosperityin mind.