by Brian Clarey, Eric Ginsburg and Jordan Green
Nancy Vaughan (i)
Nancy Vaughan entered politics in the 1990s as a neighborhood activist. In the early oughts she retired from council to raise her daughter, Catherine. When she ran for council again in 2009, she came across as a pragmatist with a strong sense of ethics. Later in that term she cast the deciding vote to keep the White Street Landfill closed.
Two years ago, Vaughan challenged Robbie Perkins for mayor — arguing for safeguards to protect taxpayers in the effort to build a performing arts center, a project championed by Perkins.
Vaughan won, and is now seeking a second term. The Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts is slated for completion next year, the most dramatic manifestation of growth in downtown, which is bookended by new brewpubs and restaurants on both the north and south ends.
Vaughan has embraced initiatives like raising the minimum wage for city workers and adding LGBT protections to the city ordinances, and tangled with the civil rights museum during her tenure as mayor.
As a testament to Vaughan’s resounding popularity, she received 87.6 percent of the vote against two challengers in a primary with 3.8-percent turnout. The odds are in her favor this time around as well.
And as a testament to the longstanding animus of hardline conservatives against incumbent Nancy Vaughan, Conservatives for Guilford County will back whatever candidate seems to have the best shot at upsetting the status quo.
They threw their support behind Devin King, who had never before voted in a Greensboro election. It likely didn’t hurt, and might have given him the 156 votes he needed to edge out perennial candidate Sal Leone during the primary. Still, King’s total only gave him 7.3 percent of the vote, meaning that he needs to multiply his support seven-fold to win the grand prize.
A registered Republican, King has emphasized neglect of poor, predominantly African-American areas of Greensboro, while also touting his support of small-government principles. Before he filed to run, no political observers had heard of him.