Mary-Ann Baldwin, the top vote-getter in the Raleigh mayoral race, announced a dozen endorsements Friday, including from Mayor Nancy McFarlane and three members of the next city council. Her opponent, Charles Francis, hasn’t said if he’s calling for a runoff.
Several sources have told the INDY that his donors are discouraging him from doing so.
Baldwin garnered 38 percent of the vote Tuesday, topping Francis by seven points. Although Francis told supporters at Cantina 18 that night to get their “running shoes” ready for a runoff, his campaign has been silent since then. (He did not return the INDY’s phone calls seeking comment about his plans.)
Francis lost all but two precincts outside of East Raleigh, and he got fewer votes this week than he did against McFarlane in October 2017, making a runoff victory appear unlikely. He lost to McFarlane in November 2017 by eighteen points.
Incumbents Russ Stephenson and Kay Crowder have also yet to announce if they’ll pursue runoffs. Saige Martin bested Crowder by fourteen points in District D, while Jonathan Melton won three thousand more votes than Stephenson in the at-large race.
Three sources told the INDY that Francis’s donors have discouraged him from pursuing a runoff and would not fund him should he call for one.
Baldwin’s campaign announced the endorsement of a dozen community leaders Friday. Here’s the full list:
Although McFarlane and Baldwin had a sometimes contentious relationship when they served on the council together, McFarlane told the INDY she believes Baldwin’s experience makes her the better leader for Raleigh.
“I think Mary-Ann, clearly of the two, has a vision for the future,” McFarlane says.
Baldwin says she was elated to receive McFarlane’s endorsement and says she’s already restarted her campaign under the assumption Francis will call for a runoff.
“We’re all-systems-go,” Baldwin says. “We’re acting like we’re in a runoff. We’re successfully raising money. We have a plan in place and we’re pulling endorsements, as many as we can.”
When a reporter pointed out in a text message that Baldwin had now earned the endorsement of the INDY, The News & Observer, and Nancy McFarlane—something that would have been unthinkable the last time she sought public office, in 2017, Baldwin replied with the “rolling on the floor laughing face” emoji.
Contact staff writer Leigh Tauss at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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