On September 15th, Charlotte will hold a primary election to determine which candidates will represent their political party in the November 3rd general election. Here’s a primer on what primary elections are, how to register, which offices are up for election, and who’s running (read primer story).
There are two races in particular that I will be watching closely – the Democratic mayoral primary and the Democratic primary for District 3. Here’s why.
Democratic Mayoral Primary
The mayoral primary is interesting because the winner of this primary will likely be the next mayor of Charlotte. There are four strong contenders and two surprise candidates. Most of the attention will be focused on the top four candidates: Dan Clodfelter, Michael Barnes, Jennifer Roberts, and David Howard.
Dan Clodfelter is the current mayor. This will be his first time running for the position as he was appointed, which means that he doesn’t necessarily get all the benefits of being an incumbent. Michael Barnes and David Howard both serve as City Council At-Large members, with Barnes also serving as Mayor Pro Tem (insider tip: the mayor pro tem is traditionally the top vote getter of the at-large candidates). Jennifer Roberts was formerly the Chair of the Board of County Commissioners and also ran for Congress in 2012.
All of these candidates have strong name recognition, campaign experience, and a history of leadership and service. What they don’t have, are new and exciting ideas for Charlotte. A quick glance through their websites is uninspiring. All four of these candidates have been focusing on the same issues since at least 2009 (my first Charlotte election). The website designs have improved, but their visions for Charlotte are the same lofty and conveniently blurry concepts of the past 6 years. I love the aspiration, but I am also craving concrete examples that we can have a discussion around. Regardless of your opinions on the street car, it was something to debate. What’s the next idea to discuss?
Democratic Primary for District 3
This race is interesting because the current council member, LaWana Mayfield, beat then incumbent, now challenger, Warren Turner. And, it looks like Warren Turner would like his seat back. I’m guessing he’s hoping that political memory is short and we’ve all forgotten about his alleged sexual misconduct. I’ll refrain from commenting about the allegations and say that it’s also easy to forget people who haven’t been involved for a few years. Absence is a double-edged sword in politics.
The filing deadline for candidates was July 17, just a few short weeks ago and these two races in particular are going to be interesting. As we inch towards the election dates and the races heat up, there will undoubtedly be more candidates and issues to discuss. Stay tuned.
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