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Winston-Salem, N.C. Mayor Defeated

November 5, 1997

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) _ Jack Cavanagh derailed Democrat Martha Wood’s bid for a third term as Winston-Salem’s mayor, making him the first Republican to win the post in city history.

And Republican Vernon Robinson, a perennial candidate who has run unsuccessfully for state and local offices, defeated Democrat B.G. Hauser to take an open seat on the Board of Aldermen in Tuesday’s balloting.

Cavanagh and Wood had several heated exchanges during the campaign, with both candidates accusing each other of trying to use race as an issue. Both candidates worked hard to win over the city’s black voters.

Wood, who before becoming mayor served two terms on the Board of Aldermen, said the city’s violent crime rate has fallen since she has been mayor and the economy has improved. But Cavanagh pointed to a June bond issue which Wood endorsed and voters overwhelmingly rejected as evidence that Wood lacked leadership.

Robinson, a former professor at Winston-Salem State University, ran twice for superintendent of public instruction, as well as legislative and local offices.

He has been an activist for school vouchers and other programs to create competition with public schools.

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