19% turnout produces historic F’ville election

Jo Muratti joined numerous other Fayetteville residents at the library on Tuesday, Nov. 8, casting her ballot in three city council races and one alcoholic beverage sales question. Photo/Ben Nelms.

The Nov. 8 city election signaled a sweeping change for the City Council, producing a new mayor and two new council members, including the first black person ever elected to a governing post in Fayetteville.

Voters at the end of the day had replaced long-time Mayor Ken Steele and Councilman Wilson Price. In their places will be Mayor-elect Greg Clifton and, on the City Council, Edward Johnson in the Post 1 seat and Mickey Edwards in the Post 2 seat.

Clifton in the race against Steele captured approximately 59 percent of the vote. The vote tally showed Clifton with 716 votes compared to 514 votes for Steele.

The Post 1 race featured newcomer and former NAACP President Ed Johnson against incumbent Wilson Price. And again the challenger won, with Johnson receiving 743 votes, or 61 percent, compared to 473 for Price. Johnson will be the first of his race to be sworn in on the council as of Jan. 1.

The Post 2 race pitted repeat candidate Mickey Edwards against Cathy Cochran. A Fayetteville Main Street associate of Councilman Al Hovey-King who had decided not to run again, Cochran came up short on the vote, though by a smaller margin than occurred in the other contests. Edwards took 650 votes, or approximately 54 percent, compared to the 599 votes for Cochran.

Fayetteville voters in the Nov. 8 election also gave thumbs up to Sunday sales of beer and wine in grocery and convenience stores between 12:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. The vote showed 1,055 in favor of the measure and 787 opposed.

Fayetteville’s voter turnout was 19 percent, one of the higher percentages in city elections in recent years.