Dayvault unseats Geathers in Kannapolis

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 9, 2011

By Hugh Fisher
KANNAPOLIS — Ken Geathers, a Kannapolis city councilman since the city incorporated in 1984, was unseated by a 25-year-old challenger in Tuesday’s election.
In unofficial results, Ryan Dayvault emerged the top vote-getter with 1,578 — almost 28 percent of the total votes cast.
Longtime-incumbent Roger Haas placed second with 1,108 votes.
Tom Kincaid — appointed in February 2010 to replace Richard Anderson after his death — won his first election with 1,102 votes.
Geathers placed fourth, losing his seat by 103 votes.
He received 1,005 votes, about 17 percent of the total ballots cast.
Challengers Amos McClorey and Michael Mishkin rounded out the field with 527 and 373 votes.
Seventeen write-in votes were reported.
A family member said Geathers was unavailable for comment late Tuesday.
With family members and friends there to support him, Dayvault shook hands and gave interviews at the Cabarrus Board of Elections.
He also took a congratulatory phone call from N.C. Rep. Fred Steen, who is a family friend.
Dayvault said he won because people are ready to see change in Kannapolis.
“They want some new energy, some new ideas,” Dayvault said.
Even so, he praised Geathers and said his service should be recognized.
“He has worked hard for a long time for the people of Kannapolis,” Dayvault said.
When he takes his seat, Dayvault said he hopes to help revitalize the center of Kannapolis.
“It’ll take time. We can’t do it during the first year or two years, but with persistence and commitment, you can make anything happen,” Dayvault said.
Reached by phone, Kincaid said he wasn’t sure what to expect in his first contest.
“I am very surprised and very honored,” Kincaid said of his win. “It gives me confidence that the community does have confidence in me.”
He said he looked forward to welcoming Dayvault to the board, but also said he would miss Geathers’ leadership.
“I certainly have regrets for that, inasmuch as Ken has been a mentor during these 21 months,” Kincaid said.
Looking ahead, he said he hopes to work to bring new jobs and affordable housing to Kannapolis while preserving the city’s high quality of education.
“Those have been my priorities since I started, and they haven’t changed,” Kincaid said.
Haas, who was first elected in 1997 and who has since served two full terms and one partial term, also praised Geathers’ leadership.
“He gave a historical perspective to our discussions that we will be missing going forward,” Haas said. “It’s not going to be the same.”
He congratulated Dayvault on running a good campaign.
The message of the election, Haas said, was that the people want to keep solving the city’s problems.
“It makes me feel as if people are saying, ‘Let’s continue addressing issues that are out there and see how many of them we can resolve in the next couple of years,’ ” Haas said.
Mishkin and McClorey could not be reached for comment before press time.
Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 794-797-4244.