HUNTERSVILLE – The fourth time was a charm for Huntersville Mayor Jill Swain.
Swain won the Nov. 5 mayoral election by a very slim margin – 26 votes – over challenger Jim Puckett. She led the race from beginning to end, but Puckett, a former Mecklenburg County commissioner, made a late rally and nearly unseated Swain.
She won the election by a 2,467-2,441 margin, and will serve her fourth term as the town's mayor.
“I guess I would say that I have taken a month and a half to campaign, but other than that, I’m going to continue the work we’ve done the past few years,” Swain said.? Swain wasn’t shocked the election turned out to be a closely contested race.
“I’m never surprised when that happens,” she said. “When it comes down to it, it just is (a matter of) who happens to vote on a particular day. That's a big part of it.”
Swain expressed her gratitude to the town’s voters in re-electing her. Having five of six incumbent commissioners brought back to the dais – Rob Kidwell edged out incumbent Charles Guignard for the sixth seat by 44 votes – is also a positive, she said.
Incumbents Melinda Bales, Danny Phillips, Ron Julian, Jeff Neely and Sarah McAulay all return to the board with Swain.
Bales was the highest vote-getter among commissioners. She received 3,032 votes – more than 200 ahead of any other commissioner – and will serve as mayor pro tem, which Bales said was a pleasant surprise.
“It’s good to have that sort of momentum that we can build on,” Swain said. “We’ve had really good momentum the past four to six years. Having a lot of commissioners return helps us move forward with our work. That's definitely a big part of the momentum.”
Puckett refused to comment about the election.
Swain said she looks forward to working with Kidwell, with whom she had some discussions leading up to the election.
"In our conversations at the polls, he always seemed to be very positive," she said. "I think he'll do a great job, and myself and the commissioners, like we do with any new commissioner, will do all we can to help him transition into the job."