Jimmy Chalflinch won the mayoral race in Carthage on Tuesday, narrowly defeating fellow town commissioner George Wilson Jr. by six votes.
Chalflinch picked up 141 votes in the contest, while Wilson received 135. Kevin Lewis finished in third place with 29 votes.
“I’m tickled to death that I won,” Chalflinch said in an interview after the polls closed. “I’m really looking forward to serving the people of Carthage.”
Originally expected to be a four-man contest, the field narrowed after incumbent Lee McGraw bowed out because of a residency issue. The Moore County Board of Elections found in October that McGraw’s current address is outside the town’s boundaries.
This was Chalflinch’s second campaign for mayor. He ran unsuccessfully in 2011 against McGraw, who won that year with nearly 75 percent of the vote.
“I’m a positive person, and I think people connected with that,” Chalflinch said of his victory. “I’m level-headed and approachable.”
Chalflinch is the former head of custodial services for Thomasville City Schools. He won his current seat on the Carthage Board of Commissioners in 2013.
A native of Robbins, Chalflinch has lived in Moore County for most of his life. He and Wilson are both graduates of Union Pines High School.
Chalflinch spent much of Tuesday chatting with his opponents beneath a tent in front of the Moore County Agricultural Center, which was a polling site for Carthage voters.
“They are both outstanding people,” he said of Wilson and Lewis. “It was an honor to run against them.”
In a previous interview with The Pilot, Chalflinch said he would focus on strengthening the town’s economy if elected mayor.
“We need more businesses in town, so I’d like to work on that,” he said at the time. “And I want to go to (existing) businesses at least once a month to thank them for being in Carthage.”
While Wilson received more votes on Election Day, Chalflinch was the top vote-getter overall thanks to his strong performance during the early voting period.
Throughout the campaign, Chalflinch and his opponents have said that a proposed expansion of the county courthouse is a major concern for the municipality, which is home to about 1,611 registered voters. The design preferred by architects would close part of Dowd Street, a key thoroughfare in downtown Carthage.
Residents on Tuesday also elected Dan Bonillo and Al Barber to fill two vacant seats on the town’s board of commissioners.
Bonillo received 187 votes, while Barber received 176. A third candidate, R. Dustin Smith, received 161 votes.