New Bern mayor candidates gear up for runoff election

Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 6:07 PM EDT
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NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) - Early voting for a runoff election in Eastern Carolina is scheduled to open this Thursday.

New Bern Alderman Jeffery Odham called for a runoff in May in the New Bern mayoral race after losing to former city police chief Toussaint Summers by just four votes.

Both candidates shared similar sentiments after seeing the close result of the primary election.

“Every vote matters,” Odham said.

“Every vote counts, as you could tell by the last election. The narrow margins,” Summers said.

The narrow margin in votes between the two mayoral candidates meant Odham was able to call for a runoff election, which he did.

In an effort to make sure his platform is heard, Odham says he feels the best way is to have a debate with Summers.

“I felt like it was extremely important for the citizens to see the candidates at work,” Odham said. “It’s easy to sit back and have a lemonade with a couple of supporters of yours, but it’s different when you get in front of a crowd and you’re asked tough questions and you are challenged by your opponent.”

Summers says he is choosing to keep his focus on the community.

“I understand how local government is supposed to work,” Summers said. “It works best if your community is involved. It works best if you listen to those you serve. My goal is to have an inclusive government that is very transparent, or as transparent as it can be. And the way to have a transparent government is to involve the community as much as possible.”

Odham says over 50% of the votes from the initial election came from early voters.

The runoff election is set to be held on July 26th.

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