District 3 City Councilmember Justin Outling made it official when, backed by a hall full of supporters, he filed to run for mayor shortly before noon on Wednesday, Dec. 8 at the Guilford County Board of Elections in the Old Guilford County Court House.
Currently, Outling is the only candidate to file to run for mayor, but Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan has announced she is running for reelection and is expected to file in the near future.
Outling announced he was running for mayor on Dec. 17, 2020, with the expectation that the 2021 City Council primary would be held in October and the general election in November 2021. However, due to the 2020 Census figures being delayed by the pandemic, the North Carolina legislature delayed municipal elections where candidates were elected from districts. The Greensboro City Council had the option of holding two elections – one according to the normal schedule in October and November of this year for the mayor and the three at-large city councilmembers and one for district city councilmembers in March and April or May of 2022. However, the City Council voted to hold one election for all City Council races with the primary on March 8 and the general election either on April 26 or May 17, depending on whether there is a runoff primary in any of the 14 congressional races or the statewide US Senate race.
As a result of that decision by the legislature and the Greensboro City Council, Outling has now been running for mayor for almost a year with the primary still three months away.
Outling has been serving as the District 3 city councilmember since he was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Downtown Greensboro Inc. President Zack Matheny in 2015. Outling won the District 3 City Council election in 2015, and in 2017 easily won reelection to a four year term. Outling is the first black and the first Democrat to represent District 3 on the City Council, and in 2017 he was the only male elected to the City Council.
During his tenure on the City Council, Outling has consistently pushed for the council to do more and talk less. On any number of issues, Outling has requested that the City Council vote the matter up or down and then move on to the next issue.
In his official announcement that he was running in 2020, Outling said, “During my time on City Council, I’ve seen too much emphasis on reactive short-term thinking, prioritizing day-to-day politics, symbolism and quick fixes over long-term success.”
Outling is a graduate of the University of North Carolina Greensboro and the Duke University School of Law and is a partner at the Brooks Pierce law firm. He and his wife, Cora, have two children and live in the Fisher Park neighborhood.