Politics & Government

Joel Ford has already raised big money to take on Jennifer Roberts for mayor

Sen. Joel Ford, right, has raised more than $200,000 in his bid for Charlotte mayor, according to his campaign.
Sen. Joel Ford, right, has raised more than $200,000 in his bid for Charlotte mayor, according to his campaign. Observer file photo

Signaling what could be one of Charlotte’s most competitive mayoral primaries, Democratic Sen. Joel Ford has raised more than $200,000, a campaign official said Tuesday.

Ford is one of four announced challengers to Democratic Mayor Jennifer Roberts.

Though the reporting deadline isn’t until July, Ford authorized release of his fundraising numbers through March. By comparison, former Mayor Anthony Foxx had raised $250,000 by the end of June 2009, the first time he ran.

It’s unclear how much Ford’s rivals had raised through March.

Roberts reported having raised $68,000 by the end of December, with $44,653 on hand. Democrat Vi Lyles, the mayor pro tem, reported having $2,500 at year’s end.

Republican Kenny Smith, a city council member, reported $65,500 on hand at the end of the year.

Sam Spencer, Roberts’ campaign manager, said the mayor has now raised about as much as Ford.

“The mayor continues to have broad support in Charlotte, and we’re just coming off of our strongest fundraising month of the campaign thus far,” he said. “We are on track to meet our goals and win in September and November.”

Lyles called her fundraising “a work in progress.”

“What I’m trying to do is get voters excited about my campaign,” she said.

Smith could not be reached.

Ford’s campaign declined to disclose any donors. But the campaign official said they were from “both sides of the aisle.” Ford, a centrist Democrat, has often aligned with Republicans and moderate Democrats.

Last week, for example, he was one of nine Senate Democrats who voted for the compromise measure that repealed House Bill 2, opposed by many progressive groups.

Reports show that the candidates in the 2015 mayoral race raised over $1.7 million.

Jim Morrill: 704-358-5059, @jimmorrill

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