Featured photo: Greensboro mayoral candidate and city council member Justin Outling speaks at The Historic Magnolia House in Greensboro, N.C., on June 2, 2022. (photo by Juliet Coen)
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article claimed that Justin Outling was elected to council in 2015. He was actually appointed to the post in 2015 and did not win election until 2017. The article has been corrected and TCB regrets the error.
On Monday afternoon, Greensboro city council member Justin Outling officially conceded in the race for mayor which sent many voters to the polls on July 26.
According to the unofficial results that came in on Election Night, incumbent Nancy Vaughan had won with 43 percent or 13,932 votes compared to Outling’s 41.7 percent or 13,507 votes.
Initially Outling’s campaign had stated that they were waiting to see how many remaining absentee and provisional ballots were yet to be counted to see if it would close to 425 vote-gap that remained between him and Vaughan. But on Monday, he sent out an email to his supporters stating that “it is apparent that Nancy Vaughan will be reelected mayor of Greensboro.”
“With an historically close race and a margin of only 1.3% between the votes for the incumbent mayor and myself, it was important to wait to make a statement until the outcome was clear,” Outling wrote.
Based on Election Night numbers, Outling had won 180 mail-in ballots compared to Vaughan’s 263. These ballots were ones that had been turned in early and counted before Election Day.
As of the morning of July 27, Guilford County Board of Elections Director Charlie Collicutt told Triad City Beat that the board has counted an additional 34 provisional ballots and 17 absentee ballots and they will continue to receive ballots through July 29.
On July 27, Collicutt told TCB that Outling’s chances of overcoming Vaughan with provisional and absentee ballots was a shot in the dark.
“I don’t think history shows that you’re going to add another 500,” Collicutt said. “I’m going to see what we got in 2017 after Election Day…I don’t know how many it was. I don’t think it was too many…”
In his email, Outling did not state what his plans for the future in terms of running for office again would be. He was first appointed to Greensboro city council in 2015 as the District 3 representative, when Zack Matheny resigned to work for Downtown Greensboro Inc., and works for law firm Brooks Pierce. He was elected in 2017.
“I feel a deep sense of gratitude to each of you,” Outling wrote in the email. “Whether you volunteered, made donations to the campaign, or expressed your support at the polls, I hope I have lived up to the confidence you showed in me.
“The issues I care about which motivated me to run (the widening gaps between Greensboro and its peers and between East and West Greensboro), and the challenges Greensboro faces, remain. To meet them, more voices must be heard, there must be more discussion about the issues we face, and there is a need for more transparency and accountability at all levels of government. To that end, I intend to remain involved and advocate for the issues I care about.
I remain humbled and deeply indebted to you for your support.”
Join the First Amendment Society, a membership that goes directly to funding TCB‘s newsroom.
We believe that reporting can save the world.
The TCB First Amendment Society recognizes the vital role of a free, unfettered press with a bundling of local experiences designed to build community, and unique engagements with our newsroom that will help you understand, and shape, local journalism’s critical role in uplifting the people in our cities.
All revenue goes directly into the newsroom as reporters’ salaries and freelance commissions.