New Bern Mayor Outlaw wins re-election

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CRAVEN COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw has won re-election to a second term.

Outlaw beat out former mayor Lee Bettis and political newcomer Ernie Williams.

With all 13 precincts reporting, Outlaw had 63.57 percent of the vote.

The elections office said a candidate would need to win 50-percent of the vote plus one, to be declared the winner.

Voters also elected Aldermen. There were three contested races.

In Ward 1 Sabrina Bengel had 51.50% of the vote. In Ward 4 Johnnie Ray Kinsey had 53.70% of the vote. In Ward 5 Barbara Best had 51.15% of the vote.

Other local races were in Atlantic Beach. None of the races were contested so Trace Cooper was re-elected mayor, and Richard Warren Porter, Jr., Danny Navey, Austin Waters, Rich Johnson, and Harry Archer were elected to town council.


Several counties across our state are holding municipal elections Tuesday.

Polls officially opened at 6:30 a.m. and closed at 7:30 p.m.

In the east, primaries are being held in Atlantic Beach, New Bern, Elizabeth City and Rocky Mount, where many people are running for council member and aldermen seats.

The mayor role is also up for vote in Atlantic Beach and Elizabeth City, as well as in New Bern, where former Mayor Lee Bettis is running against current Mayor Dana Outlaw.

Ernie Williams is a local salesman also running for Mayor of New Bern.

The Craven County Board of Elections says that as of 10 a.m. over 400 of the 20,629 eligibile voters had cast votes in the New Bern election.

You can visit the North Carolina State Board of Elections website for all your voter information.

The month of October brings pumpkins, falling leaves and, for one city in the east, Election Day.

On Tuesday, the citizens of New Bern will be able to cast their ballots for the city's municipal elections.

"Your right to vote is there and you should exercise it in your local elections, as well as your big presidential elections," says Meloni Wray, the director of elections.

New Bern citizens will decide who they want sitting behind this desk by voting for one of the three mayoral candidates.

Incumbent Mayor Dana Outlaw has been in the position since 2013. He says he is ready for another four years on the job.

"I think I have a record of working well with the other elected officials and I plan on continuing to do that," he tells WITN.

Another familiar name on the ticket is Lee Bettis. Bettis served as New Bern's mayor from 2009 to 2013.

He was found guilty of DWI, reckless driving and misdemeanor child abuse in 2014 and spent time in jail.

Bettis says he wants the position back because the city is heading in a direction he doesn't like.

"If you're ready for some professional, rational government in this city and you're tired of the good old boys, guess what, vote, and we can make it happen," he says.

The third candidate is life-long New Bern resident Ernie Williams. Williams says he will bring commitment and compassion to the job.

"New Bern is not just the downtown area, we engulf a pretty good large area that's not the downtown and we want to accommodate those people and their interests and needs also," Williams says.

Eligible voters can head out to their designated precinct and cast their ballot anytime between 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The Board of Elections says if any candidate gets 50% of all the votes plus one, they will automatically become mayor.

If no one walks away with that majority of votes, the candidate with the next highest number of votes can request a run-off.

The board says that in the last two elections, in 2009 and 2013, they have had a run-off. They say it's possible New Bern will see another one again this year.

If that's the case, that election will be held in November.