Cornelius Mayor Jeff Tarte and Huntersville business owner John Aneralla finished neck and neck in the race for the 41st District state Senate seat, but neither got the 40 percent needed to avoid a runoff.
Voters across North Carolina on Tuesday easily approved a constitutional amendment defining male-female marriages as the only “domestic legal union” allowed in the state. Meanwhile, the Republican race for the 9th Congressional District appeared headed for a July runoff as well, with no candidates topping 40 percent. And voters picked slates of candidates for county commission at-large seats. See more on our ELECTION page»
TARTE vs. ANERALLA
The men are vying to represent a new district covering Davidson, Cornelius, Huntersville, Matthews Mint Hill and parts of southeast Charlotte. They beat three other Republican candidates in the Republican primary May 8, which doubles as the deciding vote: No Democrats or Independents registered to run in the district, which means either Mr. Aneralla or Mayor Tarte will become the area’s new state senator.
In Tuesday’s vote, Mayor Tarte got 37.6 percent of the vote, while Aneralla got 36.2., according to unofficial returns.
“It’s obviously not the outcome anybody wanted,” Mr. Aneralla said. “I think there were a lot of voters that came out that don’t traditionally vote in the primaries,” he said, which may explain why the candidates that ran less-aggressive campaigns got so many votes. Also, he believes he and Mayor Tarte in their campaigns targeted mostly the same people – those who are traditionally more active in the primaries.
Mr. Aneralla said he thinks he has a good chance of winning the runoff.
“Traditionally in the runoff, because it’s an extremely low turnout, the more active voter goes out (to vote) and the more conservatively-perceived candidate wins,” Mr. Aneralla said. And he believes voters view him as the more conservative of the candidates, he said.
Mr. Aneralla and Mayor Tarte jumped into the race quickly in February and led the pack in terms of campaign donations and endorsements. In the final two days of filing in February, retired physician Donald Copeland, lawyer Troy Stafford and auto racing team owner Robby Benton also joined the race.
“We need to consolidate the votes from the other candidates because they each pulled about 10 percent,” Mayor Tarte said Tuesday. “I think we’ve got a pretty good chance of getting them,” he said.
Mayor Tarte has lived in Cornelius for more than 20 years and is serving his third term as mayor. He is a management consultant and a former partner with Ernst and Young. Mr. Aneralla has lived in Huntersville for 15 years and owns Bulldog Asset Management, an investment advisory firm. He also is a former chairman of the Mecklenburg County Republican Party.