Opinion

Will Edwin Peacock ‘go negative’? A lunchtime clue

Republican mayoral candidate Edwin Peacock last week at a mayoral candidate discussion at the Queens University Sports Complex and Conference Center.
Republican mayoral candidate Edwin Peacock last week at a mayoral candidate discussion at the Queens University Sports Complex and Conference Center. dlaird@charlotteobserver.com

Fascinating behind-the-curtain look today by the Observer’s Jim Morrill at some regrets within Mayor Dan Clodfelter’s campaign at the decision to go negative with mailers late in his Democratic primary loss to Jennifer Roberts.

Now, Republican Edwin Peacock finds himself with a similar choice: Does he play catchup to Roberts by accentuating his positives or her negatives?

We have an early clue. Editorial page editor Taylor Batten attended today’s Hood Hargett luncheon in Charlotte, where Peacock was the featured speaker. Batten says Peacock spent some time discussing the “difference between Jennifer and me.”

The biggest? “One word,” Peacock said. “Leadership.”

Peacock said Roberts’ record is “one of past and present unwillingness to address tough issues.” An example: The botched Mecklenburg revaluation when Roberts was chair of the county commission. At the time, Roberts defended the position that everything was OK, Peacock says.

Peacock also criticized Roberts for her lack of a plan on Charlotte’s streetcar expansion if state and federal dollars don’t arrive. (Peacock is a streetcar opponent, so he doesn’t need a Plan B.) He also said that while he has a plan to address public safety, Roberts doesn’t.

Clodfelter also challenged Roberts on the reval issue, but his mailer doing so came off as excessively harsh. Peacock, for now, seems to be taking the softer “difference between her and me” approach.

Given that he trails in the race (by 17 points, according to a poll the Roberts campaign announced Wednesday) you can expect that he’ll keep trying to find that seam of differentiating without going negative. If that doesn’t work, he might rip right through that seam.

Peter St. Onge

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