If you’ve ever wondered whether your vote makes a difference, consider this: just 34,468 City of Charlotte voters turned out to the polls in last week’s Primary Election, an abysmal turnout of 6.67 percent. In one City Council race, just a single additional vote for one candidate would have eliminated the need for a costly runoff that will cost Mecklenburg County taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Those voters who did take the time to vote last Tuesday or in the preceding two weeks helped set up a November 5th General Election that will bring dramatic changes to Charlotte’s City Council, no matter who wins. Here’s our take on the how things stack up:
The only real Mayoral primary race took on place the Democratic ballot, where councilman Patrick Cannon took nearly 56% of the vote in a contest many pundits thought would be much tighter. His opponent, James ‘Smuggie’ Mitchell, came in more than 4,000 votes back, bringing an end to his 14 years of service on City Council. Cannon will now face Republican candidate Edwin Peacock III in November, whose win in a technically contested primary was a foregone conclusion.
REBIC Endorsed: Cannon (D) and Peacock (R)
City Council At Large:
Three candidates, Michael Barnes, David Howard and Vi Alexander Lyles, took a commanding percentage of votes in the Democratic Primary, leaving Claire Green Fallon to squeak into the fourth slot with a 400-vote victory over fellow incumbent Beth Pickering. The four will face Republicans Vanessa Faura, Mark Frietch, Ken Harris, and Dennis Peterson in the November 5th General Election (there was no GOP Primary).
REBIC Endorsed: Barnes, Fallon, Howard & Lyles
Charlotte Mayor Patsy Kinsey (D), easily won another term in her District seat (she chose not to run for Mayor), with more than 92% of the vote. She is unopposed in November.
REBIC Endorsed: Kinsey
None of the four Democratic candidates received the required 40% necessary to avoid an October 8th Runoff, which will likely see Al Austin face off against Brenda Stevenson for the seat now held by James ‘Smuggie’ Mitchell.
REBIC Endorsed: Austin
There were no primary races in this District, meaning incumbent LaWana Mayfield (D), will face challengers C. Travis Wheat (L) and Eric Netter (R) in November.
Another runoff appears likely in the District 4 Democratic Primary, as planning commissioner Greg Phipps fell just short of the 40% threshold (he took an agonizingly close 39.99% of the vote). Pending recount results, Phipps will likely take on challenger Wil Russell on October 8th. The winner will be unopposed on the November ballot, and go on to replace Michael Barnes as the District 4 representative on City Council.
REBIC Endorsed: Russell
Incumbent John Autry (D) will return for a second term on City Council after taking 67% of the vote in the primary. He is unopposed in November.
REBIC Endorsed: Autry
In one of the most compelling races on the ballot, Kenny Smith, a commercial real estate broker, defeated attorney Kate Payerle by just over 300 votes in the Republican primary. Neither of the two remaining candidates managed to capture more than 6% of the vote. Smith is unopposed in the General Election, and will replace departing councilman Andy Dulin when the new Council is sworn in this December.
REBIC Endorsed: Payerle AND Smith
We were particularly pleased to see Ed Driggs comfortably win the Republican primary in District 7 over divisive opponent Jay Privette. Driggs will face Democrat Bakari Burton in the November General Election.
REBIC Endorsed: Driggs