Politics & Government

In 12th Congressional District, should longtime residency matter?

Alma Adams
Alma Adams jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Two Democrats in next week’s 12th Congressional District primary stressed their Mecklenburg County roots Tuesday, and continued to questioned those of the incumbent.

“This is a Mecklenburg County seat, this is not a Greensboro seat,” state Rep. Tricia Cotham told the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Forum. “We need to have somebody from Mecklenburg County.”

And Malcolm Graham, a former state senator and Charlotte City Council member, said, “This is my home. I’m not passing through.”

Their comments were aimed at incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Alma Adams, a longtime Greensboro resident who leased a Charlotte condo in April. The 12th District, which now runs from Charlotte to Greensboro, was redrawn this year within the boundaries of Mecklenburg.

“I live here,” Adams said later. “It is so unbelievable that all these political stunts are being played about where I live.”

Adams, who moved her voter registration to Mecklenburg, said she’s been representing the county since she was first elected in 2014. Mecklenburg makes up 52 percent of the district in which she was elected.

Adams, Graham and Cotham were the only 12th District Democrats at the forum. State Rep. Carla Cunningham of Charlotte, Gardenia Henley of Winston-Salem and Rick Miller of Guilford County are also running.

Leon Threatt, 12th District Republican candidate, also appeared, as did Democrat Christian Cano, running in the 9th District.

Adams has a big financial edge, having raised $623,000 to Graham’s $84,000 and Cotham’s $76,000.

Adams stressed her efforts to get federal funding for transportation and other projects for Charlotte.

“I’m in a place not to just talk about the issues but to do something about it,” she said.

Graham talked about his record of working for Mecklenburg both in public office and at Johnson C. Smith University, where he helped oversee redevelopment of the Beatties Ford Road corridor.

Cotham emphasized her record in the legislature and as a longtime educator.

Voting for Adams, she said, “gives Greensboro another member of Congress.”

Jim Morrill: 704-358-5059, @jimmorrill