After a contentious race, Pam Hemminger has secured the mayoral seat for Chapel Hill. This will be Hemminger’s fourth term as mayor.
Hemminger ran against current Chapel Hill Town Council member Hongbin Gu, who was elected to the town council in 2017, and UNC law student Zachary Boyce.
With all 16 precincts reporting, the incumbent mayor ended Tuesday night with 60.6 percent of votes.
Hemminger told 97.9 The Hill that she was grateful for her family, her campaign team, and, of course, Chapel Hill voters as she celebrated her victory at Mediterranean Deli on Franklin Street.
“I congratulate everyone out there that ran a great campaign,” Hemminger said. “We do have a lot of change over in our community, so making sure people are up to speed on what’s going on was important and hearing from people – what they see for the future and what they want for the future – was really important.”
Heading into her fourth term in office, she said her top priorities include the town’s Climate Action Plan, focusing on middle-income housing, and downtown revitalization.
During her campaign, Hemminger highlighted her long history of service to the Chapel Hill community.
“Over the past 32 years, I have served Chapel Hill and Orange County as a leader in a wide variety of capacities,” said Hemminger in a letter to the community, “including as chair of the CHCCS School Board, a member of the Orange County Commissioners, chair of the Sierra Club, Vice Chair of Triangle Land Conservancy and a member of the Habitat for Humanity and Rainbow Soccer boards.”
Hemminger secured her lead earlier Tuesday night, initially claiming 60 percent of the early vote. Gu claimed 38 percent and Boyce garnered the final two percent.
Five sitting members of the Chapel Hill Town Council publicly endorsed Hemminger for re-election last month, joining a long list of other endorsements from INDY Week, Sierra Club, NEXT
Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Equality NC, News & Observer and the Daily Tar Heel. Gu was endorsed by the Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town (CHALT) for the lone mayoral seat.
Gu focused on people-centered economic development, climate action and a strong inclusive community as the highlights of her campaign platform.
Following election night, Gu released a statement congratulating Hemminger on her re-election, thanking her campaign team, and restating her commitment to a “more green, inclusive, and resilient Chapel Hill.”
“I pledge to do all I can to help Mayor Hemminger and the new Council lead us in our efforts to come together, to bridge our differences for a better future for all of us,” Gu said in her statement on Facebook. “The challenges of the moment and the gravity of the task demand all of us to continue our work together.”
Incumbent Karen Stegman earned re-election to the Chapel Hill Town Council on Tuesday, as did first-time candidates Camille Berry, Paris Miller-Foushee and Adam Searing.
Results for all Orange County elections can be found here.
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