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Mitchell, Cannon headline Charlotte mayoral primary

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  • 12 file for CMS board seats
  • Charlotte filings

    Here are the candidates who filed to run for Charlotte City Council. Filing ended at noon Friday. The city of Charlotte has party primaries. See all candidates at

    City of Charlotte

    Mayor: James “Smuggie” Mitchell Jr. (D). Patrick Cannon (D), Gary Mitchell Dunn (D), Lucille Puckett (D), David Michael Rice (R), Edwin Peacock (R)

    Four at-large seats: Nancy Wiggins (D). David Howard (D, incumbent), Scott Derek Jenkins (D). Claire Fallon (D, incumbent), Beth Pickering (D, incumbent), Michael Barnes (D), Vi Lyles (D), Vanessa Faura (R), Mark Frietch (R), Ken Harris (R), Dennis Peterson (R), Eric A Cable (L).

    Council District 1: Art Cardenas (D), Patsy Kinsey (D)

    Council District 2: Alvin “Al” Austin (D), Rocky Bailey (D), Brenda Stevenson (D), Justin J. Stewart (D), John White (D). Darryl Broome (R)

    Council District 3: LaWana Mayfield (D, incumbent), C. Travis Wheat (L), Eric Netter (R)

    Council District 4: Levester Flowers (D), Leonard Richardson III (D), Wil Russell (D). Greg Phipps (D)

    Council District 5: John Autry (D, incumbent), Mitchell (Aerobo Cop) Smith-Bey (D)

    Council District 6: Ken Lindholm (R), Kate Payerle (R). James F. Peterson (R). Kenny Smith (R)

    Council District 7: Bakari Burtin (D), Duncan Wilson (R). Ed Driggs (R). Jay Privette (R)

  • More information

    Municipal filings

    These candidates filed for municipal seats; races are nonpartisan.

    Town of Cornelius

    Mayor: Chuck Travis

    Board of commissioners: Robert Ageenko, Del Arrendale, Dave Gilroy (incumbent). John Bradford III (incumbent). Jim Duke, Michael F. Miltich, J. R. Mount, William Sykes, Woody Washam Jr., Thurman Ross, Jr.

    Town of Davidson

    Mayor: John Woods (incumbent).

    Board of commissioners: Stacey Anderson, Beth Cashion, Rick Short. Jim Fuller (incumbent), Rodney Graham (incumbent), Brian Jenest (incumbent), Danny Phillips, Connie Wessner (incumbent), Vince Winegardner

    Town of Huntersville

    Mayor: Jim Puckett, Jill Swain (incumbent).

    Board of commissioners: Melinda Bales (incumbent), Lawrence Brinson, Franklin Freeman, Ron Julian, Jeff Neely (incumbent). Sarah McAulay (incumbent), Nick Walsh, Rob Kidwell, Charles S. Guignard (incumbent)

    Town of Matthews

    Mayor: James (Jim) Taylor (incumbent).

    Board of commissioners: Jeff Miller (incumbent)., Gina S. Hoover, John Higdon. Christopher Melton, Joe Pata, Kress Query (incumbent), John Ross, John Urban (incumbent).

    Town of Mint Hill

    Mayor: Ted Biggers (incumbent)

    Board of commissioners: Lloyd Austin (incumbent), Carl Mickey Ellington (incumbent), Eric Random, Rich Feretti, Richard Newton. Dale Dalton, Harry Marsh, Brenda McRae (incumbent), Katrina (Tina) Weaver Ross (incumbent).

    Town of Pineville

    Mayor: John Edwards. George Fowler (incumbent). Libby Boyd Boatwright.

    Board of commissioners: Jim Eschert, Les Gladden (incumbent), David Phillips (incumbent), Al “Billy” Baskins, Melissa Rogers Davis (incumbent), Deborah Fowler (incumbent), Kevin Icard.


Will Charlotte's next mayor be a Democrat or Republican?

When Anthony Foxx announced in April he wouldn’t seek a third term as Charlotte mayor, a scramble of replacements emerged.

Republican Edwin Peacock, a former City Council member, immediately said he was running.

Democrat Patrick Cannon, the Mayor Pro Tem, entered the race in May.

And Democrat James Mitchell, a council member from District 2, said in June he would run — calling off a bid for an at-large seat.

Filing for the election ended Friday.

As Charlotte has become increasingly Democratic, with more than twice as many registered Democrats as Republican voters, it’s believed the winner of the Sept. 10 Democratic primary will have an advantage going into the November general election.

Cannon has perhaps the most name recognition of anyone in the field, having been first elected to City Council in 1993 and first elected to a citywide seat in 2001.

Mitchell has represented District 2 in northwest Charlotte since 1999, often winning re-election in landslides. Earlier this year, he announced he would run for an at-large seat, which would have been his first attempt at a citywide race. But Mitchell decided to run for mayor instead.

Two other Democrats are running for mayor: Lucille Puckett, a former member of the Charlotte Housing Authority board, and Gary Mitchell Dunn, whose Web site says he is a UNC-Charlotte student.

Cannon and Mitchell are considered favorites.

But despite Democrats’ advantage in voter registration, Republican political consultant Lawrence Shaheen believes that the Republican nominee — mostly likely Peacock — can win.

He said the national Republican party is sending people to Charlotte in an attempt to reach voters.

“On an everyday scale, it’s 2 to 1 (Democratic advantage) based on registration,” Shaheen said. “But the RNC is investing heavily in Charlotte. If James and Patrick have to spend a lot of money trying to defeat each other, Edwin might have more money in the end.”

Similar records

Cannon and Mitchell have similar voting records on many issues.

For instance, both supported a controversial plan to add race and gender-specific goals to the city’s hiring goals in an attempt to bring more work to minority and women-owned businesses.

But in the last year they differed on their approach to the city’s $816 million capital plan, which included a 2.5-mile streetcar extension.

Cannon voted against the capital plan in June 2012 out of concerns that the streetcar was being funded by a property tax increase. When new City Manager Ron Carlee created a streetcar funding plan that didn’t use property taxes, Cannon voted for it, along with the capital plan. The capital plan requires a 7.25 percent property tax increase that went into effect July 1.

At a Democratic party candidates forum in early July, the two candidates outlined their different approaches to the streetcar.

Cannon said he only supported it once the project wasn’t dependent on property taxes. Mitchell said he always supported building the streetcar project, and said residents of Beatties Ford Road and Central Avenue — along the streetcar route — have waited too long for infrastructure and other improvements.

Mitchell said he won’t make the streetcar an issue in the campaign.

“I won’t talk about past accomplishments,” he said. “I will talk about my vision for Charlotte. I want to bring neighborhoods closer to the mayor.”

He said leadership will be a key theme.

He cited his presidency of the National League of Cities, which he held in 2011. He also took a lead role in the city’s negotiations with the Carolina Panthers, which resulted in the city giving the team $87.5 million for stadium renovations in exchange for a “hard tether” to keep the team in Charlotte for six years.

Mitchell is a managing partner of Integrated Capital Strategies, whose Web site says it is a consultant for financial institutions, governments and corporations.

Cannon is chief executive office of E-Z Parking, which manages parking lots. Cannon said he will campaign on his “ability to get things done.”

He cited his efforts to implement a more restrictive curfew for children under 15, which was passed by City Council in 2011 after the Food Lion Speed Street festival was plagued by a fatal shooting uptown. He said he pushed for a new ordinance to protect residents from what’s known “predatory towing” and lobbied council members this year to restore funding for police officers in schools.

He said he has worked to get taxpayers better deals on items such as the streetcar, as well as city funding for a new baseball stadium for the Charlotte Knights uptown.

Mitchell and Cannon both supported the stadium. Cannon lobbied city staff to reduce the amount of city money for the project.

Cannon didn’t vote on the city’s deal with the Carolina Panthers. He was recused from the vote because his parking management company works with the NFL team.

Earlier this year it appeared Cannon would have an open path to the general election, before Mitchell entered the race.

“We haven’t allowed who has entered the race to consume us,” Cannon said. “Our focus has been purely concentrated on securing the office of mayor to represent the citizens and move the city forward.”

Foxx resigned as mayor in early June to become U.S. Secretary of Transportation. Council members appointed fellow Democrat Patsy Kinsey to finish out Foxx’s term through December.

Kinsey will run re-election in her District 1 seat, and won’t run for mayor.

Republican frontrunner

Peacock served on the City Council as an at-large member from 2007 to 2011. He ran for a third term in 2011, but lost in what was considered a significant upset, as Democrats won all four at-large seats.

Foxx was running for re-election in 2011, and spent heavily on voter turnout and advertising. Foxx’s Democratic wave helped propel little-known Beth Pickering into the fourth at-large seat, ahead of Peacock.

Peacock, the owner of Pomfret Financial Co., believes he will have a better chance in 2013 without Foxx on the ballot.

Peacock said one of the themes of his campaign is that he can build bridges between Republicans and Democrats. Peacock said Friday he is opposed to having an authority run Charlotte Douglas International Airport, but he criticized the City Council for not doing more to negotiate with the General Assembly.

“I think it was a fiasco all around,” Peacock said. “I oppose the airport authority, and stand with the council and the mayor. But I was surprised we didn’t come to the table, that we didn’t keep negotiating.”

Council races

The City Council has four at-large seats, all of which are held by Democrats.

Cannon, the mayor pro tem, is vacating his seat to run for mayor. The other three incumbents – Claire Fallon, David Howard and Beth Pickering – are seeking re-election. They are joined by District 4 council member Michael Barnes and Vi Lyles, a former assistant city manager. Scott Derick Jenkins and Nancy Wiggins are also running.

On the Republican side, there are four candidates, which means all will advance to the general election. They are Vanessa Faura, Mark Frietch, Ken Harris and Dennis Peterson.

There is one Libertarian candidate for City Council at-large, Eric Cable.

There are four open seats on City Council.

Mitchell vacated his District 2 seat to run for mayor, and Barnes left his District 4 seat to run for an at-large seat.

The council’s two Republican members – Warren Cooksey and Andy Dulin – aren’t running for re-election. Four Republicans have filed to run for Dulin’s District 6 seat. Three Republicans have filed to run for Cooksey’s District 7 seat, and one Democrat.

Harrison: 704-358-5160
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