In the crowded 12-person race that was the at-large Democratic primary for City Council, voters mostly stuck with familiar faces.
Incumbent Vi Lyles, facing her first re-election campaign, led all vote-getters. It marks another strong showing at the polls for the former city budget director, who finished second in the 2013 at-large race to Mayor Pro Tem Michael Barnes.
Should she lead the field again in November, it would put her in position for the largely ceremonial mayor pro tem role, which has often gone to the at-large candidate with the most votes. Given her nearly 30 years of experience in city government, it would be a role in which she would likely excel – particularly if she embraces a more vocal and assertive public leadership style.
Also showing well: former council member James “Smuggie” Mitchell and incumbent Claire Fallon, who is seeking her third council term. Mitchell, who lost the Democratic mayoral primary two years ago to Patrick Cannon, logged a strong second-place finish behind Lyles.
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He served on council for 14 years.
The only newcomer to emerge from the field was Julie Eiselt, who impressed voters with her record of community service and volunteering on issues ranging from homelessness to criminal justice reform.
The four top vote-getters move on to the general election, where they will face three Republican challengers. (The Republicans didn’t have a primary).
The winners emerged from a field filled with strong candidates. As we have previously said in this space, at least eight would have made good council members, so quality candidates were bound to be left behind Tuesday night.
We hope candidates such as Billy Maddalon and Bruce Clark will continue to seek involvement in civic affairs and local government.