Vaughan & Outling take first in primary electionYasmine Regester / October 8, 2015
The 2015 Greensboro Municipal Primary Elections had only two races this year, one to decide candidates for the office of mayor and the other to select two District 3 candidates.
Incumbent Mayor Nancy Vaughan garnered record numbers in the primary with a substantial win with 87.59 percent of the votes. Challenger Devin King, a certified nursing assistant and political newcomer finished in second place with 7.30 percent of the votes.
“I’m feeling good,” said Vaughan. “Now I plan to target the precincts that I didn’t do well in, and make sure citizens get to know me better.”
She noted that like the last election, she has been waiting until after the primary to spend any campaign money.
Thomasville police officer Sal Leone was also a challenger in the mayoral race. He came in third with 5.10 percent of the votes. Leone has run for several council and state positions over the years, but has yet to win an election.
“I think the percentage of votes shows that I’ve connected with a large portion of the city and they have faith in my abilities as a mayor and they believe in the direction of our city council,” said Vaughan.
Political newcomer King has been running on a campaign to be a voice for the working poor. He believes “an explosion of materials and modern entertainment” are keys to job growth in the city.
Voter turnout for this year’s primary saw only 7,157 ballots cast out of 187,257 registered Guilford County voters. Following the city fighting a lawsuit in July over redistricting Greensboro, fewer candidates registered to seek political office than in years past – 6,212 ballots were cast for Vaughan alone.The District 3 race featured three candidates: appointed incumbent Justin Outling, an attorney at Brooks Pierce Law Firm; Kurt Collins, a fraud analyst for a mortgage company, and Michael Picarelli, a marketing manager.
District 3 covers Downtown Greensboro and includes the areas of Lake Brandt, Lake Higgins and Lake Jeanette along with various satellite annexation areas in the north and extends west to Pleasant Ridge Road.
Although the city municipal elections are non-partisan, Outling, a Democrat, led the District 3 race with 60.20 percent of the votes, in a district that traditionally votes Republican. Collins came in second with 22.99 percent of the votes.
Outling was appointed by the council in June to complete former council member Zack Matheny’s term when Matheny resigned to serve as president of Downtown Greensboro Incorporated.
“I’ll continue to advocate for the city being wise with taxpayer dollars and making decisions on what’s likely to drive our economy forward,” said Outling. “I take my responsibility as a public servant very seriously.”Collins attributed his win to his door-to-door knocking technique, which gave him an opportunity to meet and hear from constituents.
“The district is manageable,” said Collins, who described his approach to running for elected office as “cautiously optimistic.”
Collins has also emerged as the more conservative candidate between he and Outling, pushing for a lowering of the city’s tax rate.
“I’m for lowering our tax rate and being a good steward of taxpayer money so we can attract the businesses and jobs we need,” he said.
Collins holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science with a minor in Business Law from Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C.
He is also a member of the City of Greensboro Human Relations Commission, the City’s Complaint Review Committee that reviews citizen complaints against the police department, and serves on the Leadership Committee of the young professional group, SynerG. If elected, Collins said he wants to focus on economic development, public safety and government efficiency.
Outling is a graduate of UNC Greensboro and Duke University School of Law.
The winners of the Primary Election will head to the General Election on November 3.