Foxx announces he's candidate for mayor

Getting a jump on the competition, Democrat Anthony Foxx said Monday that he'll run for mayor of Charlotte next year – whether or not he has to face an incumbent.

Foxx, in his second term as an at-large City Council member, told the Observer he's sent letters to friends and supporters. He made his decision public a week before an election that will shape the city's next mayoral race.

Republican Mayor Pat McCrory is running for governor against Democrat Bev Perdue. If he wins, the council would choose an interim mayor. If he loses, there's the possibility – but no guarantee – that McCrory would seek an eighth term.

Foxx said he wants people to know that he'll run regardless of his opponent.

“There's an abiding sense in this community that we're great in a lot of ways, but we can be better,” said Foxx, 37. “The case is going to be made on the issue of vision. It's not going to be a retrospective on 20 years of Pat McCrory. It's going to be about where we're going and who's best prepared to get us there.”

Foxx, who said he'll make a formal announcement early next year, is the first candidate to announce his interest in the job McCrory has held since 1995.

A graduate of West Charlotte High, Foxx was the first African American student body president at Davidson College. He earned a law degree from New York University and now practices in Charlotte.Republicans aren't surprised.

“It's not a shocker,” said Mecklenburg GOP chairman Lee Teague. “I suppose what he's trying to do is be the first one out of the box for the Democrats.”

One other Democrat who has considered the race is state Sen. Malcolm Graham, a former City Council member. He declined to discuss it Monday.

“Our focus right now is just getting past the election,” said Graham, who faces Republican Ed Mulheren.

“The mayor's election is in 2009. So we'll worry about today today and tomorrow tomorrow.”

If McCrory does not run, council member John Lassiter is among Republicans expected to enter the race.

No Democrat has held the office since Harvey Gantt in 1987. McCrory has beaten a series of relatively weak Democratic opponents.

Related stories from Charlotte Observer