Republican Edwin Peacock wants to be mayor of Charlotte. David Michael Rice wants to be mayor of Ricetown, a city in northern Mecklenburg County that so far exists only in his dreams.
Thats one reason Peacock is looking past the Sept. 10 primary against Rice to a general election matchup with a former Democratic colleague on the City Council.
Weve been campaigning for the general from the beginning, says Peacock, 43.
The winner of the GOP primary will face the Democratic nominee in the citys first open-seat mayoral race since 2009 and only the second since 1995. Two council incumbents Patrick Cannon and James Mitchell lead a field that includes Gary Dunn and Lucille Puckett.
Early voting starts Thursday.
Peacock is a former two-term member of the Charlotte City Council who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2012. So far, hes raised nearly $158,000, more than any mayoral candidate of any party.
Peacock was the last Republican to win at-large on City Council. He lost a re-election bid in 2011 when Democrats swept the four seats.
His father, Ed Peacock, was a former City Council member and Mecklenburg County commissioner, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor 30 years ago.
Peacocks primary opponent is a 64-year-old retiree who has a cable-access TV ministry. Rice has run for office before, most recently in 2011. He calls his political committee Ricetown Royal Republic.
Rice says his ultimate goal is to be mayor of a town that bears his name.
Ricetown is going to be a new municipality, he says. Were going to be trying to incorporate it in unincorporated areas.
The Charlotte election, he adds, is almost like having an election to elect a mayor of Ricetown.
The TV minister filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy in 2000. He also had a string of liens against his Grier Heights property, though all were paid when he ran for council in 2011.
In 2006, Rice registered a political action committee called The HRC (Holy Royal Crown) PAC. The state board of elections had repeated questions about the PAC and eventually shut it down in 2009.
Peacock is running on a platform that includes job creation, streamlining government and improving what he calls the citys partnership with education. He also wants to overcome the partisanship and divisiveness he sees among current leaders.
He has voted against the proposed crosstown streetcar project and sides with current officials in opposing the General Assemblys efforts to transfer control of Charlotte Douglas International Airport from the city to a new commission.
That issue is now in the hands of a court and the Federal Aviation Administration.
Peacock is a moderate Republican who doesnt mind the label.
During last years Republican primary in the 9th Congressional District, he was the only one of 10 candidates to publicly oppose the so-called marriage amendment, which bans gay marriage in North Carolina.
As chairman of the councils Environment Committee, he voted to strengthen the citys tree ordinance and require developers to keep more green space.
In 2011 he angered some conservative Republicans when he joined Democrats to narrowly pass a pay raise for the city manager.
Everybody wants to bash the guy in the middle, he said last year. The approach that Ive had has been to work to solve problems, and part of that means working with those of the other party to find solutions.
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