Tuesday’s election results did little to quell the growing narrative of Democratic dominance in Charlotte City Council races. For the third straight election, it appeared Democrats were going to sweep all four of the at-large seats.
Democratic newcomer Julie Eiselt ran strongly across the city and finished as the top vote-getter, a position that traditionally earns the council’s largely ceremonial mayor pro tem position.
Incumbents Vi Lyles and Claire Fallon won reelection to at-large seats, and were joined by former council member James “Smuggie” Mitchell, who beat back a strong challenge from Republican John Powell.
Since all incumbents in district seats won, Democrats on the council will maintain their 9-2 majority. Despite their continued dominance in City Council races, Democrats would be well advised to take note of Powell’s strong showing, in which he nearly broke their lock on the at-large races.
It perhaps signals that the city’s voters are open to considering GOP positions – and Democrats on the council should be as well.
Even if the majority members ultimately turn down an opposing viewpoint, confronting it with open minds and intellectual rigor will undoubtedly make the council’s final policy or decision sharper and stronger than it otherwise would have been.
The new council will wrestle with complex questions such as how to spread affordable housing, whether to expand the city’s non-discrimination ordinance and how to finance our growing transportation needs without crippling local taxpayers.
They will need the best ideas – from all sides of the political spectrum – to meet those daunting challenges.