CHAPEL HILL – Incumbents Sally Greene and Mayor Pro-Tem Ed Harrison retained their seats on the Chapel Hill Town Council, with newcomers Maria Palmer and George Cianciolo taking the two open seats on election night.
Greene received the highest number of votes with approximately 19.4 percent, followed closely by Cianciolo and Harrison. Palmer finished in fourth place with 16.1 percent of the votes.
“I am ready for another four years of hard work for the Town of Chapel Hill,” said Greene, who fittingly wore green.
The incumbents were expected to win, with a tighter race projected between Palmer and fellow challengers Loren Hintz and Amy Ryan.
Nine candidates competed for four opens seats this election season.
Greene was joined by Chapel Hill Mayor Kleinschmidt, who was reelected for a third term Tuesday night, and other Town council hopefuls at Vimala’s Curryblossom Café.
Harrison humbly thanked those who voted for him to take on a fourth term on the council.
“Obviously I feel that there must be satisfaction with an incumbent [if they are reelected],” Harrison said. “I treasure the work of the council a lot more than campaigning for council, so I am looking forward to continuing to work and starting work on new things. We have more issues coming at us all the time.”
Cianciolo, who served as Co-Chair of the Chapel Hill 2020 Comprehensive Plan Committee, was widely considered the frontrunner among challengers. He said as a council member, he hoped to boost the economic activity in Chapel Hill.
“There are several areas that lend themselves to development,” Cianciolo said. “Particularly in our gateways in the northern side near I-40 and Eubanks Rd. and in our eastern side at the Blue Cross/Blue Shield site. That would be one way that we can increase revenue. I think we need to recruit new businesses, too.”
Palmer, an experienced educator and pastor, was a relative newcomer to town politics, but said her activism has prepared her well for her new role as council member. She was overwhelmed with joy when her victory was solidified and hugged members of her campaign party.
“I think everything has prepared me for this,” Palmer said. “My experience around town in education, with the faith community, with volunteering, and the other different groups has let me know what happens here in Chapel Hill. I am very excited to be able to serve Chapel Hill on the Town Council with the fine members of the Town Council.”