Davis tops Ward 2 primary; Beasley advances too
Retired teacher Eddie Davis and bail bondsman Omar Beasley survived Tuesday’s primary and will face off next month in the general election for the City Council’s Ward 2 seat.
Davis posted a large lead early and held it throughout the evening Tuesday as the county Board of Elections reported the results. He took 59.4 percent of the vote to Beasley’s 21.6 percent, in the unofficial tally.
“I’m humbled and heartwarmed to see the support that appears to be coming my way from many segments of the Durham community,” Davis said. “It looks like we’ve crossed all kinds of racial barriers, economic barriers and other things that sometimes divide us.”
Beasley, like Davis making his second try for elective office, held off third-place finisher Del Mattioli. The investment adviser took 13.6 percent of the vote. Funeral service owner Franklin Hanes trailed with 5.5 percent.
Beasley couldn’t be reached for comment.
The Ward 2 candidates are vying for the seat that longtime incumbent Howard Clement will vacate this winter. Clement is stepping down after 30 years on the council.
Tuesday’s primary also saw Mayor Bill Bell take a step toward re-election, as he made it through to the November ballot after carrying 87.2 percent of the vote.
He’ll get a rematch with 2011 challenger Sylvester Williams, a minister and financial adviser who took the second slot on the ballot with 7.2 percent of the vote.
Bell, a 72-year-old executive and engineer, is seeking his seventh term.
“It’s always good to win an election and I think, hopefully, it shows an indication of what the voters think about the job I’ve been doing as mayor,” Bell said.
Williams, who also ran unsuccessfully in 2009 for City Council, said he’ll campaign on the idea that voters “someone who actually represents all the citizens” as mayor, stressing the need for civilian oversight of the police, financial skills and a sharper focus on fighting homelessness.
“In talking to citizens of Durham, they’re feeling they’re being displaced,” he said. “Durham needs to be a place that welcomes the poor as well as the well off, so all the citizens feel they have a part in the city.”
Business consultant Michael Valentine trailed with 5.6 percent of the vote.
“Win, lose or draw, it’s been a good experience,” Valentine said before the votes were counted. “I’ve learned a lot campaigning.”
County Elections Director Michael Perry reported few problems during the day’s voting.
Two precincts, based at Glenn Elementary School and American Legion Post 7, were delayed in opening their doors in the morning because caretakers were late in unlocking them.
But poll workers at both implemented the elections board’s contingency plan and began collecting ballots anyway.
“We give the chief judges an emergency bag where they have everything they need to [conduct the] vote outside” in the parking lot, Perry said.
He added that the delay at Glenn came because a janitor who was supposed to open the building for poll workers had an accident on the way to work. As for the legion post, “I’m not sure what happened there,” Perry said.
Davis has a statewide run for elective office to his credit, finishing just behind future Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson in a 2008 party primary. Beasley ran for a County Commissioners seat last fall as a petition candidate.
Elections officials said 10,326 people cast votes in the primary, a turnout of just under 6 percent.
The two split the endorsements of Durham’s big-three political groups. Davis was backed by the People’s Alliance, while Beasley got the support of the Friends of Durham and the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People.
Bell swept the endorsements of the big-three groups.
The general election comes up on Nov. 5, with one-stop early voting scheduled to begin on Oct. 17 at the Board of Elections headquarters at 706 W. Corporation St.
Bell, Williams, Davis and Beasley will share the ballot with Ward 3 candidates Pam Karriker and Don Moffitt, and with unopposed Ward 1 incumbent Cora Cole-McFadden.