Kannapolis incumbents sweep back in

Published 9:47 pm Tuesday, November 3, 2015

KANNAPOLIS — Voters gave City Council’s plan to buy and redevelop downtown Kannapolis a thumbs up Tuesday by handing three incumbents convincing re-election victories.

Mayor Pro Tem Ryan Dayvault led the balloting with a total of 1,197 votes, followed by Tom Kincaid with 1,044 and Roger Haas with 977.

The challengers seeking those three seats were more than 400 votes behind. Amos McClorey Sr., who has run for the council several times, placed fourth with 551 votes, followed closely by Violet Mitchell with 547 and Randy Keller with 331.

Dennis Johnson, who withdrew from the race too late to remove his name from the ballot, received 243 votes.

The challengers had expressed reservations about the council’s purchase of the downtown property, from outright opposition to questioning the tax increases that came with the project and whether other parts of the city were being neglected.

Dayvault, 29, who works for the UNC Chapel Hill Nutrition Research Institute, said Tuesday’s vote proved the council was on the right track.

“When I ran four years ago, all people wanted to know was, what are you going to do about downtown?” said Dayvault, who won his second term. Since then, the council has taken bold action, paying David Murdock $7.55 million for his downtown property and contracting a nonprofit consulting firm to help the council develop a plan.

“We’ve accomplished the thing that the people specifically said,” Dayvault said.

He said he was glad Kincaid and Haas won re-election, too, so they could maintain consistency as the town moves forward, both for the downtown and overall economic development for the city.

Kincaid, 63, co-owner of Caremoor Retirement Center, said he was eager to get to work. “We can actually now finish the job we started,” he said.

The challengers were capable people, Kincaid said, but they would have had about a 12-month learning curve on the project. Kannapolis needs to move forward now, he said. “I just think it works.”

He said he liked hearing from voters — pro and con — as he worked the polls Tuesday. “It’s very important we know what they want,” Kincaid said. “It’s their town now.”

Haas, 67, founder of AIM Tours, is now heading into his fifth term on the council. “I’m as excited now as I’ve been in all that time because of what we’re working on and what’s on the horizon,” he said. “I think what the folks of Kannapolis are telling us is we’re moving in the direction they want to go.”

The winners will serve four-year terms on a council that includes Dianne Berry, Darrell Jackson, Doug Wilson and Mayor Darrell Hinnant.