Tarte looks ahead after Senate win
by Staff Writer
CORNELIUS – One day after a narrow victory in the state’s primary runoff election for state Senate District 41, Cornelius Mayor Jeff Tarte is preparing for his move to Raleigh in January.
Winning by just 203 votes, Tarte beat out his longtime friend John Aneralla 4,204 to 4,001.
“Breathless is the word I’m using to describe it,” Tarte said early Wednesday morning.
When the polls closed Tuesday around 7:30 p.m., results showed Aneralla ahead by a small margin, but in the end, Tarte received the final winning votes.
“It was an unbelievable amount of work on both camps,” Tarte said. “I know John’s team worked unbelievably hard and we did the same to keep up with them. We got a little tense at the end, but we’re all on the same team today.”
But now, Tarte said, all of his energy will be focused on getting other fellow Republicans elected in November, since he does not have a Democratic opponent.
While he helps those still campaigning, Tarte said he’ll be busy performing his mayoral duties as well as putting together a Raleigh staff, legislative policy and getting familiar with the bills that will appear before the House and Senate in January.
He said he’ll also spend time in Raleigh “building relationships with other House and Senate members.
Tarte said he won’t step down from his duties as mayor until November or December.
“Because for one thing, I’m not elected yet,” he said. “I don’t officially get elected until November, so if there’s a big write-in campaign, I’ve got to run in another race. But all kidding aside, now we’ve just got to roll up our sleeves and get to work.”
Tarte ran his campaign on the issues of transportation, healthcare, unemployment, education and “supporting municipalities and moving more control out of Raleigh to the local hands and decreasing taxes.”
He and Aneralla both ran clean campaigns, avoiding petty personal attacks, and it worked.
“It worked for us hugely,” Tarte said, and it will enable the two to continue their friendship once the dust settles.
“I love him to death,” Tarte said. “He’s a good friend and we go to church together. I know it’s a little bumpy for now, but things will heal and I think the world of him.”
While Tarte was optimistic about the campaign, Aneralla wasn’t as bright-eyed.
“Obviously I’m very disappointed in the results, but not in the effort or campaign we ran,” Aneralla said. “I’m mostly disappointed for my volunteers. They worked very hard and I think we’ve run an above-board campaign and ran on the issues.”
This was Aneralla’s second time running for office. He said he has no plans to run again.
“It would be very difficult to consider running as hard as we’ve run, because we’ve essentially been doing this for two years,” Aneralla said. “But you never know.”