by Jordan Green
Democrats appeared to have a big night in Forsyth County, according to incomplete and unofficial results at press time, winning major at-large races and expanding their representation on the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Board if preliminary numbers held.
Democrat Ted Kaplan reclaimed the at-large seat on Forsyth County Commission in a rematch with Republican Bill Whiteheart, by a 13-percent margin, with 93 out of 101 precincts reporting. A former state lawmaker and former county commissioner, Kaplan vindicated his loss to Whiteheart during the 2010 Republican surge. Kaplan has pledged to be receptive to requests for education funding and has expressed an interest in improving regional transit.
Meanwhile, early returns showed Democrats picking an at-large school board seats previously held by a Republican, with newcomers Katherine Fansler joining Elisabeth Motsinger, who was first elected in 2006. Republican newcomer Robert Barr also won one of the three seats. The results augured the exit of John Davenport, a black Republican who ran at large after being appointed to a seat in the Democratic-leaning urban District 1.
Despite an early rally by Democrat Deanna Kaplan, Republicans managed to hold on to the four seats in suburban District 2, holding a pattern since the district was drawn by the state General Assembly in the early 1990s. Jeannie Metcalf, who currently serves at large on the board, led balloting in the District 2 race, followed by newcomers Lori Goins Clark, Dana Jones and David Singletary.
Democrat Susan Frye was elected to a second term as Forsyth County Clerk of Superior Court, easily fending off a challenge from Republican challenger Charlie Mellies.
The 5th Congressional District race and host of state legislative races in Forsyth held little surprise.
Virginia Foxx, who has held the 5th Congressional District seat since 2005, easily held off a challenge by Democrat Josh Brannon.
Forsyth County voters also elected incumbents in gerrymandered state legislative districts by comfortable margins, including Republican Joyce Krawiec in Senate District 31, Debra Conrad in House District 74, Donny Lambeth in House District 75 and Julia Howard in House District 79; along with Democrat Evelyn Terry in House District 71.
With 94 percent of precincts reporting, Winston-Salem voters approved five bonds for sidewalks, public safety facilities, parks and recreation, housing and economic development by wide margins.
UPDATE, Nov. 5, 11:52 p.m.: In final balloting, Katherine Fansler did not win one of the three at-large seats for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Board. Democrat Elisabeth Motsinger held the number-one spot, while Robert Barr and Mark Johnson placed second and third, respectively.