Saying “maybe 18 months is not enough,” Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter sent his clearest signal yet Monday that he may run for a full term in 2015.
Four months after taking office, Clodfelter said he’s gotten a “good response” about his performance from City Council members and the public. And he enjoys the job.
“That causes me to think maybe we ought to re-up,” he told a luncheon of the Hood Hargett Breakfast Club. “But it’s a long time away. Maybe 18 months is not long enough.”
Clodfelter was appointed in April to fill the term of fellow Democrat Patrick Cannon, who was arrested on federal corruption charges. Cannon was elected in November 2013.
Clodfelter was selected by a vote of the 11-member council. Some wanted assurances he wouldn’t seek a full term in 2015. Mayor Pro Tem Michael Barnes said at the time that Clodfelter had told council members he wouldn’t run next year.
“The day before we voted, I told him I would need him to agree not to run to get the six votes he needed to be appointed,” Barnes said Monday. “And he agreed.”
Publicly, Clodfelter has left the door open to a 2015 campaign.
“I have said I don’t have a long-term plan to do this,” he told reporters in April. “At this point in my career, I think I’ve sort of put my years in. If I can be useful over the next 18 months, that would be satisfactory.”
Barnes is one of a handful of council Democrats mentioned as possible mayoral candidates, along with David Howard and Vi Lyles.
One Democrat already in the race is Jennifer Roberts, former chair of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners. When she announced in May, she told television station WBTV it’s “never too early to start a conversation about the best way to move our city forward together.”
Since then her campaign has raised more than $58,000, according to a report filed last month.
Clodfelter, who left the North Carolina Senate to become mayor, has $47,000 left in his state campaign account, but he could not use the money from his state account for a local race.
“I’ve enjoyed the new position,” he told the Observer. “I’ve enjoyed the new set of issues. … I love the community. I have to think about (running). That’s why I took the job in the first place.”
Sales tax referendum
At Monday’s luncheon, Clodfelter was asked whether the county’s November sales tax referendum would hurt Charlotte’s $146 million bond request.
By a 5-4 vote, county commissioners agreed to ask for a quarter-cent sales tax hike, mostly to help raise teacher salaries. The city bonds would fund transportation, neighborhood infrastructure and housing.
“The two are not connected in any way,” Clodfelter said. Asked what he thought of the sales tax referendum, he said “I’ll answer only if we’re off the record.”
“I will support the funding of additional pay for teachers,” he told reporters later. “It’s critical we get teacher pay to competitive levels.”