All the Observer’s picks for Charlotte races (and NC-09)

The Observer editorial board has talked to candidates and others this election season to learn about the people who seek your vote Tuesday.

Here’s a recap of our recommendations for contested primary races and North Carolina’s 9th District U.S. House special election. The full reasoning behind each recommendation can be found at charlotteobserver.com.

9th District

It should come as little surprise that this editorial board is endorsing Dan McCready in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District special election. We endorsed McCready, a moderate Democrat, in the 9th District race last fall that was tainted by absentee ballot fraud. “McCready has far more potential to effectively represent the 9th, and to help change the tone in Congress,” we said then.

We still believe that, and we believe that McCready’s opponent in this special election, Republican Dan Bishop, has shown himself unfit to represent the 9th. Bishop is the unrepentant author of HB2, a discriminatory law that cost Charlotte and North Carolina millions of dollars in business and lost events.

Bishop also has embraced the Trump presidency. He vows to help the president build his wall at the southern border. He is far less likely than McCready to provide a check on the president — and far more likely to mirror his fellow Republicans’ silence at Trump’s reckless words and policies.

NC-09 endorsement: It’s about more than the Dans. It’s about the Donald.

Mayor - Charlotte

In her first term, Vi Lyles has helped Charlotte repair relationships with previously hostile lawmakers in Raleigh. She’s helped the City Council navigate through the potential choppiness of new, bold voices mixing with veteran members. She’s strengthened the city’s relationship with its corporate community. She has earned a second term as mayor.

Charlotte mayoral endorsement: What you might not know about Vi Lyles.

Charlotte City Council, at-large

The Charlotte Observer’s endorsements for Charlotte City Council races.

Seven Democrats, including four at-large incumbents and District 3 incumbent LaWana Mayfield, are running. The top four primary finishers will be heavily favored against Republican newcomer Joshua Richardson in November.

We strongly recommend three candidates. Julie Eiselt, now in her second term, has become one of the council’s most valuable members. The mayor pro tem is a moderate voice with a banking background that’s valuable on budget issues, and she’s a collaborator who’s willing to dive deep into issues the council faces. James Mitchell, the city council’s senior member, provides the council with a strong link to Charlotte’s business community. His economic development background and affable nature serve the council well. First-term member Braxton Winston has been exactly what he promised to be — a strong voice who is willing to make the council and city confront uncomfortable issues and ideas. We hope he continues to learn the value of collaboration and coalition building.

District 1

Democrat Larken Egleston is a rare first-term city council member in that he has made an immediate impact thanks to a deep knowledge of Charlotte issues and the council’s role in tackling them. He’s respected by his council colleagues, and he also acts as a bridge between the council’s younger members and its veteran leadership.

District 2

Democrat Malcolm Graham is a former council member and state senator who knows his district thoroughly and has been a key player in its revitalization successes. We give Graham a slight nod in this race over political newcomer Jessica Davis, who would be a forceful advocate for District 2 residents.

District 3

Of the three Democrats running to replace Mayfield, Victoria Watlington has immersed herself in learning about the complex challenges facing Charlotte, and she displays a more complete grasp of how the council works.

District 4

Democrat Renee Perkins Johnson has lived in Charlotte just four years, but she brings more than 15 years of experience in affordable housing solutions, an issue critical to her district and the city. She also has valuable experience navigating government, and she displays a thoughtful and direct approach to issues.

District 5

Council members appreciate incumbent Democrat Matt Newton’s hard work, and we believe that like many first-term officials, he has the opportunity to learn and grow into an impactful member of the council.

District 7

Voters in this south Charlotte district face a difficult choice between two strong Republican candidates, incumbent Ed Driggs and challenger Victoria Nwasike, a former defense attorney and economic development manager. We give Nwasike the nod in this race for the more thoughtful, expert approach to planning and zoning she would bring.


Charlotte Observer editorial board members Kevin Siers and Peter St. Onge are conducting interviews of City Council, mayoral and CMS Board of Education candidates in contested primary and general election races. The editorial board also talks with others who know the candidates and have worked with them. When we’ve completed our interviews and research, we discuss each race and, in consultation with Publisher Rodney Mahone, decide on our endorsements.

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