Mecklenburg courts: 3 challengers defeat sitting judges

Three African-American women appear to have unseated incumbent male Mecklenburg judges Tuesday night while another Superior Court judge survived an unusual challenge from a candidate who stopped campaigning in August.

In the top race, Carla Archie, a Wells Fargo attorney in her first political campaign, slowly lengthened her lead over three strong challengers with almost 80 percent of the votes counted.

Archie, president of the Mecklenburg bar association, led with about 35 percent of the vote. John Bowers, who was appointed to the seat by Gov. Pat McCrory last month, followed with 29 percent. With 58 of 77 precincts in, Archie carried almost a 3,000-vote lead.

Charlotte native Eric Montgomery, a former college football player and corporate attorney now running his own law firm, was third with about 19 percent, while David Kelly, a Mecklenburg homicide prosecutor and Charlotte native, tallied 17 percent.

The race is nonpartisan. Bowers, a Charlotte native and former corporate attorney, is the only Republican. The others are Democrats.

In the other Superior Court race, incumbent Bob Bell led challenger Justin Moore 58 percent to 42 percent, a 12,000-vote margin.

Bell, a former Methodist minister and county prosecutor, stands to become the county’s senior resident judge. He has spent 17 years on the bench.

Moore, 31, has never tried a case and suspended his campaign in August – too late for his name to be removed from the ballot.

Meanwhile, incumbents appear to have lost in contested District Court races.

Alicia Brooks, a former public defender and assistant district attorney, led Charlotte native Casey Viser 57 percent to 43 percent, a 21,000-vote margin.

Brooks is a Democrat, Viser a Republican.

In the other race, Yolanda Trotman, a former debate coach at North Mecklenburg High School and now a private practitioner, led Theo Nixon, 55 percent to 45 percent.

Trotman said she ran against Nixon because she did not like how he treated those in his courtroom. Nixon described himself as an old-style judge who makes his opinions clear.