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Terry Bellamy, a young woman with a reputation for championing issues such as affordable housing and job creation, made local history by being elected Asheville’s first African-American mayor. Bellamy received 10,534 votes (56.8%) to opponent Joe Dunn’s 8,004 votes (43.2%). Both Terry Bellamy and Joe Dunn are currently serving on Asheville City Council.
Terry Bellamy and Joe Dunn defeated current Asheville mayor Charles Worley in the October primary, setting the stage for the November mayoral race.
Bellamy, 33, is employed by Mountain Housing Opportunities, and is the mother of two young children. Dunn, 61, is a retired dentist who operated his practice in Asheville for many years; he has two grown children.
While Bellamy is the first African-American to be elected mayor in Asheville, she is not the first woman – that distinction belongs to popular former mayor Leni Sitnick, who was elected mayor in 1997 and served one term.
Bellamy was first elected to Asheville City Council in 1999, and re-elected in 2003.
Bellamy and Dunn served on Asheville City Council together, but often found themselves on different sides of many votes. Bellamy often votes in favor of neighborhood and affordable housing issues, while Dunn tends to vote in favor of business interests.
In the City Council race, Holly Jones and Carl Mumpower were returned to their positions on Asheville City Council, while newcomer Robin Cape was also elected. Holly Jones was the top vote-getter with 11,642 votes, Cape was second highest with 9,737 votes, and Mumpower came in third with 8,498 votes.
Since Bellamy was in the middle of a 4-year term on City Council when she was elected mayor, City Council will have the responsibility to fill her seat with a special vote. They are not bound to place the 4th-place finisher (Bryan Freeborn) on Council, but he can be considered for the position, as well as others, even those who did not run for the position.
(Images provided by TerryMBellamy.com.)