Swain wins big
by Staff Writer
HUNTERSVILLE – Fighting off a cold and at times fighting back tears Tuesday night, Huntersville Mayor Jill Swain was re-elected with more than 59 percent of the vote.
Swain, who huddled with supporters at Café 100 across the street from Huntersville Town Hall, spent the time joking with friends as vote totals from Huntersville’s eight districts rolled in.
“I want to thank you guys so much,” Swain said, standing on a chair addressing the 20 or so supporters at the restaurant before the totals were announced. Swain, who was hoarse from a cold, said she was afraid her voice wouldn’t hold up through the night
“What you’ve done for me means so much to me,” she said, wiping away tears. “Thank you, all.”
Challenger and town board member Danae Caulfield met with her camp and more than 30 supporters at Hickory Tavern.
In an email response for comment, Caulfield thanked her supporters and asked them to stay engaged in local politics.
“It has been so awesome getting to know so many people that I would not have otherwise had the opportunity to know. I rolled up my sleeves and went to work not just for you but with you,” the email said. “We made a difference together in our town. I ran for mayor because I believed we could do even more to connect our local government with the people it is suppose to represent.”
She concluded the email by saying telling her supporters was proud the election had remained “honorable.”
“You proved once again that we can have passionate differences while remaining professional and civil,” she said in the email.
With all eight precincts and early-voting ballots counted, the results showed Swain with 2,141 votes, Caulfield with 1,311 and Sandy Tilley who dropped out of the race last month after the deadline to remove her name from the ballot, with 117.
Swain downplayed the victory – her third as mayor.
“To me,” she said, “I looked at this election as a distraction from the progress we’ve made in this town. I’m ready to get back to work.”
Swain was overjoyed when told that Davidson Mayor John Woods won re-election, as did Cornelius Mayor Jeff Tarte, who ran unopposed.
“We’ve worked very well together,” she said. “I can’t tell you how happy I am to work with them again.”
The election ends a tense few months that saw the incumbent commissioners take the unlikely step of publicly endorsing Swain, while several challengers backed Caulfield.
But for all of the exchanges, voter turnout was low, with only about 10.4 percent of registered voters casting ballots.
Many of the voters that lined up at the North Mecklenburg Regional Library Tuesday afternoon said they were not drawn to the polls with any agenda. Most said they voted out of civic duty.
The role of mayor in Huntersville is likely to undergo a dramatic shift this term. The town added a sixth seat on the board for the first time, which leaves Swain the tie breaker on divisive topics.
Commissioner Ron Julian, who was at Café 100 with Swain, said he was happy to have her voting in that capacity.
“Jill has done great things for this town,” he said, “and she’s knows her stuff. If there’s ever a need to break a tie, she’s who I would want making that decision.”