When Anthony Foxx announced in April he wouldnt 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, its 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, its 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.
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 citys 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 citys $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 didnt 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 wasnt 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 wont make the streetcar an issue in the campaign.
I wont 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 citys 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 whats 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 didnt vote on the citys 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 havent 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 Foxxs term through December.
Kinsey will run re-election in her District 1 seat, and wont run for mayor.
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. Foxxs 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 didnt come to the table, that we didnt keep negotiating.
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 councils two Republican members Warren Cooksey and Andy Dulin arent running for re-election. Four Republicans have filed to run for Dulins District 6 seat. Three Republicans have filed to run for Cookseys District 7 seat, and one Democrat.
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