The race to become Mecklenburg County’s next district attorney is already getting interesting — with the current appointed DA tapping a prominent campaign manager that could set up intriguing storylines for the fall.
District attorneys in North Carolina serve four-year terms, and the next election for them will be held in fall 2018. Mecklenburg had been served for nearly two terms by Republican Andrew Murray, who was recently confirmed to a post as U.S. attorney after nomination by President Donald Trump.
His successor, as nominated by Gov. Roy Cooper, is Spencer Merriweather, who had been a homicide prosecutor in the Mecklenburg district attorney’s office for more than a decade. Though Merriweather is a Democrat, he carried Murray’s endorsement. He became the first African-American district attorney in Mecklenburg County.
Merriweather is now campaigning to keep his position — and has tapped former Charlotte Observer journalist Tonya Jameson as his campaign manager, according to an email sent to supporters on New Year’s Eve.
This past summer, Jameson was the victim of an off-duty Tennessee police officer who held her at gunpoint after she changed the license plate on an SUV she had just bought. A review board later held that the police officer had erred.
Merriweather, too, has had experiences of police brutality. He has cited an incident in the early 90’s where he was running in downtown Philadelphia and was kicked in the ribs by a police officer.
The pairing could set up an interesting campaign season. Merriweather is expected to face public defender Toussaint Romain in the Democratic primary.
Romain shot to public prominence in late 2016 during the protests after the officer-involved shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. Romain served as an intermediary between protestors and the police. “Be mad,” he told protesters, according to the Observer. “Be frustrated. Just do it the right way.”
Romain has yet to formally declare for the race. The email from Jameson urges supporters to donate money to head off competition in this fall’s race. The dynamic here will be an important one to watch in 2018.