Charlotte City Council member Julie Eiselt said she was thrilled to receive the endorsement of the Black Political Caucus ahead of the September primary – only to lose it days later.
Eiselt and the caucus have had a falling out, and caucus chair Colette Forrest has been critical of the at-large council member in emails to supporters and the media.
“For the first time in the history of the Black Political Caucus of Charlotte-Mecklenburg an endorsed candidate seems to decline the BPC endorsement,” Forrest wrote in an email earlier this week.
Under Forrest’s tenure, the caucus has tried to become more relevant to the city’s voters by issuing endorsements earlier in the election calendar. Roughly two-thirds of the city’s Democratic primary voters are African-American.
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There are four at-large seats on City Council. The caucus initially endorsed Dimple Ajmera, who was appointed to the District 5 seat and who is now running at-large; incumbent James Mitchell; newcomer Braxton Winston; and Eiselt.
But Eiselt said she felt uncomfortable by a request from Forrest that the endorsed candidates support one another.
In a statement, Eiselt said, “I am extremely honored to have received the endorsement of the BPC membership. This endorsement, to my knowledge, was not dependent on later signing a pledge of support of other BPC endorsed candidates. I pledge to work with whomever is elected to the City Council and office of the mayor, and therefore have chosen not to endorse one candidate over another. Showing support for other candidates is a personal decision.”
Forrest said in an email that she didn’t ask for the candidates to “campaign for the ticket.”
She said she wants them to “support the ballot.”
In an interview, Forrest said, “You would think she would have been elated. I guess not.”
The caucus has endorsed Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyles for mayor.
Eiselt won an at-large seat two years without getting the caucus endorsement.