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Cornelius News

Tarte loses; Clark leads Bradford by fewer than 500 votes

NC Senator-elect Natasha Marcus, with her mom, Ruth Rath

Nov. 6. 11 PM. A leading Republican legislator has lost his seat in the North Carolina Statehouse. Challenger Natasha Marcus trounced incumbent Jeff Tarte, a former Cornelius mayor, in the race for NC Senate District 41. With 17 of 28 precincts reporting, Marcus, a Davidson resident, had 56 percent of the vote to Tarte’s 43 percent.

Marcus, a community leader and volunteer, is the daughter of a veteran New York legislator—a Republican in the Nelson Rockefeller tradition. She is a former litigation attorney and has a B.A. in Public Policy from Hamilton College and a J.D. from Duke University School of Law. She is in the development department at the Ada Jenkins Center.

And in a cliffhanger, Democratic challenger Christy Clark defeated NC House District 98 incumbent John Bradford, a Republican, by 317 votes.. With all 12 precincts reporting at 12:45 am, Clark, from Huntersville, had 50.4 percent of the vote to Bradford’s 49.6 percent.

Mecklenburg County District 1 Commissioner Jim Puckett looks like he lost to Elaine Powell, 55 percent to 44 percent, with 19 of 21 precincts reporting. Pat Cotham, one of three at large commissioners—and a distinct presence in North Meck issues—scored big with 212,000 votes.

When the polls closed at 7:30 pm, Board of Elections officials released the results of this year’s record-breaking early vote, which showed both Clark and Marcus ahead, a harbinger of things to come.

Both Tarte and Bradford did well in Precinct 242/Jetton Park, the heart of Cornelius’ Republican base. But in 202/Town Hall, both suffered.

It looks like both Tarte and Bradford suffered from their early association with tolls on I-77 and the thinking—by the Republican establishment four or five years ago—that tolls were the best and quickest way to widen I-77.

Bradford has been one of the standard-bearers of the younger Republican Party. Bradford initially looked likely to trounce Clark, but TV ads focusing on I-77 apparently took a toll.

Republicans were dismayed. “What’s clear about tonight’s results in Mecklenburg County is with enough money and targeting an urban area, the Democrats can change the narrative of what actually has occurred here over the last several years,” said Huntersville Mayor John Aneralla. “Republicans got outspent.” He recently endorsed Tarte in his re-election bid.