What happens when you ask Charlotte’s mayoral candidates to say nice things about each other?

Charlotte mayoral hopefuls and Democrats Michael Barnes, Dan Clodfelter, David Howard and Jennifer Roberts
Charlotte mayoral hopefuls and Democrats Michael Barnes, Dan Clodfelter, David Howard and Jennifer Roberts

Time magazine published its 100 Most Influential People issue last month with an interesting twist. Those on the list were honored, in some cases, with pieces written by people who could be seen as their rivals. The piece about Sen. Elizabeth Warren, for example, was written by Hillary Clinton, even though many see Warren as Clinton’s biggest threat from the left. The blurb about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was written by Justice Antonin Scalia, her ideological opposite.

That gave us an idea: If Clinton can say nice things about Warren, surely Charlotte’s four Democratic rivals for mayor could say something complimentary about each other. Michael Barnes, Dan Clodfelter, David Howard and Jennifer Roberts have announced their intentions to run for mayor this fall. Only one Republican, Scott Stone, has confirmed his candidacy so far.

This was harder to pull off than we anticipated. A couple of candidates were hesitant; and Barnes declined to participate in the video that the other three did (he did write about Roberts, however). It took weeks to get answers from all four and video participation from three. Everything is subject to careful calculation in politics, we guess.

Some responses seemed more considered and sincere than others. You be the judge.

Michael Barnes on Jennifer Roberts:

“I’ve always appreciated Jennifer’s tenacity, competitiveness and decency. As I’ve come to know her better, I recognize that, in part, she solidified those traits as a volleyball player during her four years at college. Because of the nature of present day politics, it’ll be great to have a fellow candidate in the race who’s competing with a strong sense of fair play and dignity.”

Dan Clodfelter on David Howard:

“I appreciated David’s work on the review and update of the Council’s ethics policies. He approached the issue with seriousness and a commitment to getting it done right. We share a vision of helping grow ‘new economy’ companies in Charlotte, and I value the energy he puts into that vision.”

David Howard on Michael Barnes:

“While I may not agree with Michael on every issue, I do know he is committed to his city and his family. We share children around the same age and, as he and I (and so many other Charlotteans) know, it’s not easy balancing family and work. Michael finds a way to do both and I applaud him for his service to the city and love for his family.”

Jennifer Roberts on Dan Clodfelter:

“Talk about your resumes! Davidson, Oxford, Yale Law School. Dan Clodfelter has been a successful lawyer, district City Council member, seven-term state senator, and now interim mayor of Charlotte! Impressive.

“Dan Clodfelter has been synonymous with East Charlotte politics since the 1980s and has used his considerable intellect to better navigate many legislative proposals, budgets and reforms.

“His longtime political experience has made him a safe pick to restore calm to a challenged Mayor’s office. I am proud to have him as a neighbor and grateful for his many years of public service and numerous contributions to our city and state.”

-- Compiled by Taylor Batten