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Mayoral candidate proclaims to Black Caucus: 'I am the white guy'

Charlotte mayoral candidate Gary Dunn has questioned the motives of the Black Political Caucus and the sexuality of one of his Democratic rivals.

In an email he said he sent to the media and 5,000 people, Dunn made the comments in response to an invitation to attend a Caucus brunch and fundraiser next week.

“Maybe I got this wrong,” he wrote, “but you should know I am not the black gay candidate Patrick Cannon, I am the white guy.

“If you are inviting me to hear my opinion … I would be glad to attend, however it looks like you are just using the system to raise money and promote racial inequality.”

Cannon, Charlotte's mayor pro tem and longest-serving City Council member, said, “It saddens me that someone running for public office would demonstrate such divisive behavior.”

“Using inflammatory language and ‘untruths' to attack a family man and proven servant leader to this city shows Mr. Dunn's true stripes,” he said in a statement. “Rather than engaging with him, I'm going to focus my energies on winning the primary.”

Cannon and Dunn are among four Democrats running for mayor in the Sept. 10 primary, along with council member James Mitchell and Lucille Puckett, a former housing authority commissioner.

The nominee faces the winner of the Republican primary between former council member Edwin Peacock and David Michael Rice, who has a TV ministry.

Early voting in both contests starts Aug. 22.

Dunn, a businessman, also ran for mayor in 1993. He ran for governor as a Republican in 1992 and Democrat in 2012.

Two weeks ago, Dunn appeared with Cannon and other candidates at a west Charlotte church. Before the largely African-American audience, he seemed to some to come close to endorsing Cannon.

“I said, ‘In this room, not outside of this room, I think this is the best candidate for mayor,'.” he recalled saying.

Dunn explained why he said that.

“If somebody comes to you in a roomful of black people who have no intention of voting for you … how would you defuse the bomb?” he said. “They told me they want to discuss racial inequities and social inequities. Why would you confront people like that?”

Caucus Chair Gloria Rembert declined to comment on Dunn's email, saying she hadn't read it.

Morrill: 704-358-5059
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