Laura Meier held off Matthew Ridenhour by 2,577 votes to unofficially win a first term representing District 5 on the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners.
Meier earned a total of 49,812 votes, or 51.33%, with all 51 precincts reporting by the end of Election Day on Nov. 3. Official totals will include ballots mailed in with Nov. 3 postmarks.
Ridenhour, who served six years in the District 5 seat, had a favorable match-up against the political newcomer. Despite being out of office for two years, he stayed in the public eye by campaigning for a congressional seat and against a quarter-cent sales tax. But Meier defeated him by a slightly larger margin than her Democratic predecessor Susan Harden did in 2018.
“I have run the race before me,” Ridenhour wrote on Facebook toward the end of election night.
County results showed Meier had 17,171 absentee by-mail votes compared to Ridenhour’s 9,636. The remaining votes were reported by precinct. Ridenhour had more votes in 34 of the 51 precincts.
“I think in 2018, the voters chose change,” Meier said. “I think that in 2020, they weren’t ready to see that change. They liked what they had been seeing.”
Meier realizes that half of the district did not vote for her, but she heads into her new role ready to represent the entire district.
“We need to unite and be one,” she said.
If the results hold up, Meier will join returnees Elaine Powell, Vilma Leake, George Dunlap, Mark Jerrell, Susan Rodriguez-McDowell, Ella Scarborough and Pat Cotham as well as newcomer Leigh Altman on the commission.