Charlotte City Council member David Howard endorsed incumbent Dan Clodfelter for mayor on Monday, though it’s not clear whether that will translate into votes from his mostly African-American supporters.
Howard finished third in this month’s Democratic primary, 763 votes behind Clodfelter. Both trailed former Mecklenburg County commissioner Jennifer Roberts.
The runoff is Oct. 6. The general election is Nov. 3.
Last week Howard interviewed both Clodfelter and Roberts in the conference room of a Dilworth law firm. He decided the mayor’s vision for the city more closely aligns with his own.
“I’ve seen both candidates up close and I know he has a real, achievable plan to bring opportunity and development to all parts of the city,” Howard told reporters at a morning news conference.
Howard’s announcement was one of few public events in a runoff campaign marked more by quiet efforts by each candidate to turn out their voters in an election where turnout will be key.
Two weeks ago, just 8.7 percent of the city’s registered voters went to the polls. Runoff turnout is expected to be much less.
In an election where nearly 2 of 3 eligible voters are African-American, not even Howard has any idea whether his endorsement will sway voters. In the first primary, black voters were split.
Roberts and Clodfelter each did well among black voters.
Roberts won eight of the 20 precincts with the largest percentages of black voters, according to an Observer analysis. Howard won all but one of the rest.
City Council member Michael Barnes, who finished fourth in the primary, has said he has no plans to endorse.
The Black Political Caucus, which had endorsed Howard, decided not to endorse at its Sept. 20 meeting. One member said she thinks voters are still trying to decide.
“From what I’ve heard they’re doing what I’m doing, they’re digging deeper at the two remaining candidates to see who’s worthy of our vote,” said Colette Forrest, a Howard supporter. “I’m still deliberating who I’m going to vote for.”