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Peacock tops Cannon in campaign money for Charlotte mayoral race

MAYOR MONEY_03
DAVIE HINSHAW - dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com
Republican candidate for mayor Edwin Peacock speaks with reporters after voting on Monday at the Morrison Regional Library.

Republican Edwin Peacock has significantly out-raised Democrat Patrick Cannon in Charlotte’s mayoral race, though both enter the final days of their campaign on similar financial footing.

Reports filed Monday show Peacock has raised $347,000 to Cannon’s $266,000. As of last week, each had around $50,000 left.

Their totals are far less than candidates raised the last time Charlotte had an open mayoral seat in 2009. At a similar point that year, Democrat Anthony Foxx had raised more than twice what Cannon has raised. And Republican John Lassiter had raised nearly as much as Foxx.

Election Day is Nov. 5.

In the race for four at-large city seats on the City Council, Democrat David Howard led the field, raising $131,000. Democrat Vi Lyles, a newcomer, took in $116,000.

All four Democratic candidates raised significantly more than their GOP challengers, though the report of Republican Dennis Peterson wasn’t available.

Three of the Democrats running at-large – Michael Barnes, Howard and Claire Fallon – are council incumbents, while Lyles is a former assistant city manager. None of the four Republicans has held elected office.

Democratic demographics

The Democratic advantage in that race may reflect incumbency, or the Democrats’ advantage in registration in Charlotte. Fifty percent of voters are Democrats, only 23 percent Republicans. In 2011 Democrats swept the four seats.

For that reason, one Democratic strategist dismissed Peacock’s fundraising edge in the mayor’s race.

“Natural demographics are on our side,” said consultant Dan McCorkle. “Peacock has done nothing to diminish the Democratic support Cannon should get in the university area and the west side. He can spend spend the money if he wants, but it’s probably not going to change the outcome.”

Republicans hope Peacock’s fundraising will help level the playing field. But Larry Shaheen, a Republican strategist, acknowledges the Democratic advantage.

“Patrick has a significant grass-roots campaign that you really can’t translate into the money report,” he said. “Right now it’s a complete crap shoot. The main question (is) whether moderate Democrats are going to vote for Edwin Peacock.”

After an acrimonious primary campaign, Democrats have shown signs of uniting behind Cannon.

Cannon, the mayor pro tem, won a high-profile primary over fellow council member James Mitchell. Some Mitchell supporters, including state Sens. Dan Clodfelter and Joel Ford, have contributed to Cannon. And Hugh McColl, the retired Bank of America CEO who also backed Mitchell, said “as a lifelong Democrat,” he also supports Cannon.

Among his other contributors were 22 drivers from City Cab, who donated a total of $4,875. City Cab is one of three companies selected in 2011 to have exclusive contracts to pick up passengers at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Cannon also got $200 from former council member Don Reid, a conservative Republican. Reid has said he believes Cannon has been a moderate, “despite pressure from Democratic constituents.”

Peacock, a former council member, tapped a wide base of contributors.

At the top of the list was his family. His parents and brother gave a total of $22,000.

The state Republican Party kicked in $3,700 worth of in-kind contributions.

Campaign manager Russell Peck pointed to Peacock’s 425 individual supporters.

“It’s a great sign of momentum,” he said. “That alone shows a strong sign of support from the community.”

At-large money

Here’s what other candidates in the at-large race reported raising:

• Democrat Michael Barnes: $43,248

• Democrat Claire Fallon, $30,390

• Republican Vanessa Faura: $15,649

• Republican Mark Frietch: $7,640

• Republican Ken Harris: $24,296

Staff writer Steve Harrison contributed.

Morrill: 704-358-5059
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