Politics & Government

In Republican stronghold, two GOP candidates seek District 6 council seat

District 6 has been a stronghold for one of Charlotte’s shrinking populations – Republicans.

Stretching from Myers Park to N.C. 51, the district covers much of southeast Charlotte from South Boulevard on the west to East Independence Boulevard.

It’s one of two council districts that has reliably elected Republicans and is currently home to one of the only two Republicans on the 11-member council.

That Republican, council member Kenny Smith, is running for mayor. Two Republicans are running for his seat.

Tariq Scott Bokhari and Eric Laster are competing in the Sept. 12 primary. The winner will face Democrat Sam Grundman and Libertarian Jeff Scott in November.

Here are the two Republican candidates:

▪ Bokhari: The 37-year-old Bokhari hopes the third time’s the charm.

His first run was a decade ago when he ran in District 1. Two years later he ran at-large.

Tariq headshot
Tariq Scott Bokhari Courtesy of Tariq Scott Bokhari

Since then, he says, he and his wife decided to build a family and a business. They had three kids and a new start-up that he co-founded called Aggressant, which focuses on financial technology. He says it was a call from Smith earlier this year that prompted him to get in the race.

“(He) asked me to consider a run,” Bokhari says. “That was kind of the last straw and the itch came back.”

(Smith says he “spoke with several candidates” interested in running and has taken no sides.)

Bokhari has lined up endorsements from big-name Republicans including former Gov. Pat McCrory, U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger and former Mayor Richard Vinroot.

Bokhari says that under Democrats, the city has forgotten the basics.

“I’m running on the need for basic prioritization on what our city really needs,” he says. He would put jobs, roads and public safety ahead of “soccer or climate change.”

A Virginia native, Bokhari graduated from Radford University.

▪ Laster: Laster doesn’t mince words when it comes to explaining his candidacy.

“I decided late this summer to step forward and seek your support for one reason,” he says on his website. “(O)ur city is led by activists, who are turning Charlotte into test dummies for the liberal agenda.”

Eric Laster Courtesy of Peter Brentlinger

Laster, 61, is running for the first time. He’s CEO of Edifice Inc., a Charlotte construction company that he says he’s built from $500,000 in revenue to $250 million.

“What I see is that there are very few people on council with business acumen,” he says. “It is time for business people in Charlotte to become involved.…

“As I peel back the onion, I see that there are a lot of problems. We have problems whether it’s budgeting whether it’s public safety whether it’s infrastructure.”

Laster has loaned his campaign at least $42,000. He also has been a big donor to other Republicans. He has given more than $58,000 Republicans candidates and groups since 2001, according to finance records.

A native of Burlington, Laster has lived in Charlotte for 34 years. He’s married with two grown children.

Jim Morrill: 704-358-5059, @jimmorrill