RALEIGH, N.C. – Wake County Republicans are in danger of losing power on the county commission as all four seats held by the GOP are up for re-election Nov. 4.
Wake commissioners have a tremendous impact on the county – overseeing, for example, the spending of the Wake County Public School System. The county approved a $1.066 billion budget June 16 and gave Wake teachers additional income but not as much as the system requested.
In District 2, incumbent Republican Phil Matthews, who serves as Wake County board chair, is facing Democrat Matt Calabria.
Matthews is a business owner and served as a Garner town council member. He has been on the Wake County Commission since 2010.
Calabria was voted student body president at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before attending law school at Duke University.
He currently works as a lawyer in Wake County.
Matthews sees economic development as the biggest issue facing Wake County.
“People moving to Wake County 62 a day, thereabout,” Matthews said. “Nobody is leaving. They’re all coming in. It’s all about jobs.”
He said with the influx of people comes more sales and property tax revenue.
“We can work through these things and prioritize our spending,” Matthews said.
Calabria said commissioners have stopped doing what made Wake County great over the last four years.
“The Wake County Board of Commissioners has departed from that arc. They’ve stopped doing the things that made us great. As a result, we’ve seen decreasing teacher morale,” Calabria said.
He said the county needs to build public schools and update public transportation to keep up with growth.
In District 7, Republican Paul Coble is facing Democratic challenger John Burns.
Coble has served as a commissioner since 2006 and was re-elected in 2010. He served as Raleigh’s mayor from 1999-2001 and is the nephew of former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms.
On his campaign website, Coble stressed spending tax dollars carefully.
“If we want to continue to be successful, we must continue to make wise decisions on how to spend our tax dollars and invest in our infrastructure so that we are ready to take advantage of opportunities that come our way,” Coble said on his website.
Coble works as an insurance broker and partner in the Raleigh Insurance firm, Coble, Nicholson & Associates, LLC.
Burns said it is up to county leaders to modernize transportation and develop a sustainable economy.
“I believe that Wake County needs consensus-building leadership that is often missing from the current Board of Commissioners,” Burns said on his website.
Early in-person voting started across North Carolina Thursday.
Wake County Board of Commissioners races
District 1 (NE Wake): Republican Joe Bryan is running for reelection against Democrat Sig Hutchinson
District 2 (So. Wake): Republican Phil Matthews is running for reelection against Democrat Matt Calabria.
District 3 (SW Wake): Republican Rich Gianni is running for reelection against Democrat Jessica Holmes.
District 7 (N. Raleigh, NE Wake): Republican Paul Coble is running for reelection against Democrat John Burns.
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