Campaign flyer from Joe’s first Chapel Hill Town Council race, 1979

About Joe

My photo
Chapel Hill, N.C., United States
Joe Herzenberg was born June 25, 1941, to Morris & Marjorie Herzenberg. His father owned the town pharmacy in Franklin, N.J., where Joe grew up. After he graduated from Yale University in 1964, Joe went to Mississippi to register voters for Freedom Summer. He joined the faculty of historically black Tougaloo College, where he was appointed chair of the history department. Joe arrived in Chapel Hill in 1969 to enroll as a graduate student in history at the University of North Carolina, and, along with his partner Lightning Brown, soon immersed himself in local, state, and national politics. Although Joe’s first campaign for the Chapel Hill Town Council in 1979 was unsuccessful, he was appointed to the Council to fill a vacant seat and served until 1981. In 1987, he was elected to the Council, becoming the former Confederacy's first openly gay elected official. Joe died surrounded by friends on October 28, 2007. He was 66 years old.

Wednesday, November 6, 1991

Joe re-elected as top vote-getter in Town Council race

Town elects undergrad to council: UNC-CH's Chilton makes history; law professor wins mayoral race

The News & Observer, Nov. 6, 1991, Page A1

CHAPEL HILL -- Chapel Hill voters bolstered their historical ties to the University of North Carolina on Tuesday, electing a law professor as mayor and an undergraduate geography major to a seat on the town council.

In unofficial returns, Kenneth S. Broun, former dean of the UNC-CH School of Law, swept 50 percent of the vote in the three-candidate race for the town's top elected office. And Mark H. Chilton, 21, a UNC-CH senior, took 3,012 votes in the council race. That was enough to defeat eight other candidates and
squeeze into the fourth and final available seat on the board.

The victory surprised the town's political observers: Chapel Hill has never before elected an undergraduate to the board. "I think this race challenged a lot of people's ideas," Mr. Chilton said. "I think some people thought a student couldn't make a serious run and that a student couldn't be qualified."

Mr. Chilton, whose parents live in Raleigh, credited his victory to strong student turnout and his endorsements from the Sierra Club, the NAACP, the Orange County Greens and local newspapers, including The Daily Tar Heel.

The council race drew an unusually large field - 12 candidates. And with the two incumbents emerging as early favorites, the remaining 10 candidates were left to compete for the two last spots.

Incumbents Joseph A. Herzenberg and the Rev. Roosevelt Wilkerson Jr. won easily, with Mr. Herzenberg drawing the most votes at 4,803 and Mr. Wilkerson coming in second with 4,476.

(Editor's note: In addition to running his own race for re-election, Joe was an enthusiastic supporter of Mark Chilton's candidacy for Chapel Hill Town Council in 1991. He was a mentor and adviser to Mark, providing Chilton's campaign with logistical and organizational help, access to donors, and introductions to key contacts on the local political scene. Chilton's victory made him the first undergraduate elected to public office in North Carolina.)

No comments: