Republican City Council member Kenny Smith announced Thursday he is running for mayor, with a campaign slogan of “Charlotte Deserves Better.”
Smith, who was first elected in 2013, said Democratic Mayor Jennifer Roberts has given the city “misguided leadership.” He also criticized Roberts for focusing on special interest groups and seeking the attention of the national media since she became mayor in late 2015.
Smith is the only Republican to announce he’s running. On the Democratic side, two people have announced they will challenge Roberts: Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyles and State Sen. Joel Ford.
The primaries are in September. The general election is in November.
Smith represents District 6, which is much of south Charlotte. The GOP hasn’t won a mayoral election since 2007, and the last time they won a citywide election was in 2009, when Edwin Peacock won a council at-large seat.
Smith said he would unite the city and create new, high-paying jobs. He said voters should ask if “our city is better” today than two years ago.
Smith made his announcement at the county’s Republican headquarters office on Park Road.
In response to Smith’s comments, Roberts’s campaign manager, Sam Spencer, said while Smith is “playing the blame game, mayor Roberts has been focused on putting Charlotte first: creating new jobs and opportunities in the tech sector, improving public education, and pushing the city to meet our affordable housing needs.”