One Seat, Two Visions for the Future of Carrboro – INDY Week – DC Initiative on Racial Equity
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Someone has been stealing Aja Kelleher’s campaign signs.

During a six a.m. stakeout, one of her supporters caught the culprit on video, but police have yet to ID him—the grainy footage shows a white guy in his twenties or thirties, wearing a neon yellow vest and running fast enough that he could’ve been the star of his high school cross-country team.

In some small towns, that might’ve narrowed it down. But this is Carrboro.

Kelleher’s signs were stolen last November, too, during her first bid for Carrboro Town Council. She lost that race, receiving the fewest votes of the five candidates, but when former town council member Damon Seils was elected mayor of Carrboro that month, Kelleher decided to vie for his empty seat. She’s currently running against Eliazar Posada in the upcoming special election on May 17.

The reason for the sign stealer’s spite is up for speculation, but Kelleher, who works as a senior principal engineer at Fidelity Investments, emphasizes that she’s “considered an outsider” in this election—her campaign is largely self-funded, her public service experience is minimal, and she doesn’t have ties with the town’s mayor or existing council members.

“I think people look at me as if I’m some sort of rogue,” Kelleher says.

She’s also running as an independent—which, in a town as liberal as Carrboro, is turning some heads.

“I don’t agree with everything the Democrats endorse,” Kelleher says. “But I identify more with Democrats than I do with Republicans since Trump came into office.”

Kelleher comes from a conservative family. Her father is a Korean immigrant and her mother is from Alabama, and “Southerners and foreigners tend to be more conservative,” she says. She was born and raised in Chicago, where she met her husband, an Irish national who also works in big tech. A little over a decade ago, Kelleher and her husband moved to a subdivision in Carrboro to accept job offers in


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