Election results analysis: who won and why? 🗳


November 7, 2018

Hello, Chathamites. Happy Wednesday!

Your Chatham County Election Results


By: Ryan Thornburg

Chatham County continued its move into the Triangle’s political orbit in Tuesday night’s election, while it also showed itself to be a local model of the national divide between rural and suburban voters.

Democrats won every contest in which they put up a candidate and Chatham voters rejected all six amendments to the state constitution that had been put forth by the General Assembly’s Republican majority.

But the map of Chatham County’s electoral preference looks like a mini version of the national map — towns and suburbs in blue with rural areas in red. Republicans controlled more physical area of the county map, but the growing populations in Siler City, Pittsboro and the northern part of the county that abuts Chapel Hill gave Democratic candidates enough votes to carry every contest.

The blue precincts voted for Democrat Ryan Watts in Chatham County’s U.S. congressional race, while the precincts in red voted for Republican Mark Walker, who was the winner in the 6th District, which also includes portions of seven other counties. (Credit: N.C. State Board of Ethics & Elections)

For each race, there were about 21,000 votes for the Democratic candidate and about 15,000 for the Republican.

Those 36,000 voters in Chatham county were nearly as many as the 40,000 who turned out for the 2016 presidential election. Two years ago, the county favored Democrat Hillary Clinton for president and generally favored Democrats all the way down the ballot. Democrats that year got just about the same number of votes they received this year, but Republican candidates this year received about 2,000 fewer votes than they received in 2016.

Since the last midterm election, in 2014, the county’s population has grown, but its election turnout increased even more. The number of registered voters in Chatham grew by 7,000 in the last 4 years, while the number of voters who cast ballots increased by 8,000.

The county has also become much more reliably Democratic in the last four years — more like Orange, Durham and Wake counties to its north and less like Lee, Moore, Randolph or Alamance counties that surround Chatham on the south and west.

This year, Chatham joined only seven of the state’s other 100 counties in opposing the “victim’s rights” amendment to the state constitution. The amendment passed and was the most popular of the six.

The orange counties voted in favor of the “victim’s rights” amendment to the North Carolina constitution. Chatham was one of only eight counties that voted against it. Lenoir County has not yet reported results. (Credit).

The change in Chatham is due to population growth in Pittsboro and the new developments in the northeastern parts of the county, but Siler City has also also become much more reliably Democratic.


Notable + Quotable

Chatham County voters have the highest turnout in the state for early voting.

→ 38% of registered voters in Chatham already voted as of Nov. 3.

→ Chatham has been ranked within the top 10 counties for early voting since 2010.

In 2016, 59% of Chatham’s registered voters cast their ballots before Election Day.

“We have some very motivated voters … I don’t know if they just like to vote or if they’re just politically active.”

— Pandora Paschal, elections director for Chatham County 

“What early voting turnout often means is that in relatively small counties where people know each other a little bit better, they’re getting their friends and neighbors out to vote,”
— Marc Heatherington, UNC-Chapel Hill political science professor 

Get involved:

  • There’s an open spot on the Triangle South Workforce Development Board for someone that can represent Chatham’s business community. The board oversees the planning, policy guidance and oversight of the workforce investment system in Chatham, Harnett, Lee and Sampson Counties. Fill out an application by next Friday (Nov. 9).
  • Pittsboro Business Association is looking for Holly Days Christmas Tree Lighting volunteers on Nov. 18 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sign up here to volunteer and help make this annual community tradition happen.

Quick Takes:

→ In observance of Veterans day, the Solid Waste & Recycling Main Office will be closed next Monday, Nov. 12, but collection centers will be open as normal from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

→ Chatham residents with damages and losses as a result of Hurricane Florence can now apply for FEMA disaster assistance. See the full press release here.

→ For our Pittsboro readers: if fall leaves are already covering your yard, check out Pittsboro’s curbside leaf collection schedule. The town has set dates for the pickup service November through January.


Around Our County

After Hours Networking Event
 Wednesday, Nov. 7 from 6 to 8 p.m.
→ Pittsboro Roadhouse & General Store @ 39 West St, Pittsboro
 A mixer to encourage relationship-building between local business owners
 “Stay for 20 minutes or enjoy the full two hours. Get out there! Give people the chance to get to know you so they will want to do business with you.”

Stand Up For Autism: Emma Arnold And Lauren Faber Comedy Hour
 Wednesday, Nov. 7 from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.
→ Pittsboro Center for the Arts and Sweet Bee Theater @ 18 E Salisbury St. Suite A, Pittsboro
 Tickets are $35 and benefit the Autism Society of North Carolina’s Camp Royall. There will also be a silent auction and a 50/50 raffle.

2nd Annual Carolina Women’s Show
 Friday, Nov. 9 from 5 to 8 p.m. is the VIP show. Saturday, Nov. 10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. is the regular show.
→ Chatham County Agriculture and Conference Center @ 1192 US Hwy 64 West Business, Pittsboro
 Tickets for the VIP night on Friday are $40 and must be bought in advance. On Saturday, adults are $5 at the door, cash only and children 10 and under are free.
 “The show will be a great opportunity to enjoy the very best this area has to offer in shopping, fashion, food, entertainment, cosmetics and more. There will be presentations on continuing education and financial planning, to wellness, health and beauty, and fitness. And of course, lots of prizes and giveaways!”

Pickin’: A Music Celebration & Chatham Arts Council Benefit
 Sunday, Nov. 11 from 4 to 8 p.m.
→ Chatham Arts Council @ 118 Fayetteville St, Pittsboro
 Tickets are $50 for adults, $20 for kids, and a table for 10 is $500. All proceeds from the event will benefit the CAC’s Artists-in-Schools Initiative.
 The Bluegrass Experience will put on a live concert starting at 5 p.m. There’ll be food, beer and wine courtesy of Carolina Brewery included in ticket prices.

Small Business Administration Workshop 
→ Wednesday, Nov. 14 from 5 to 6:30 p.m at Chatham Park’s Conference Center
→ Free but with limited space; register online or call 919-542-8277

Government Calendars

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