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Mayoral field deep in possibilities
With Foxx leaving, contenders are lining up
 
Published Monday, April 8, 2013 12:47 pm
by Herbert L. White

Voters really will need a scorecard to keep up with the list of potential Charlotte mayoral candidates.


Filing for local offices begins in July, but the jockeying for position is already underway as the race to succeed outgoing Mayor Anthony Foxx turns into a sprint. Foxx, who is rumored to be a candidate for U.S. transportation secretary, announced last week he won’t seek re-election.


City Council member James Mitchell is the latest to offer an inkling of his plans with a press conference scheduled for Tuesday at the Government Center. In a release to the media, Mitchell is “re-evaluating” his political options. In recent weeks, scuttlebutt had Mitchell leaving his District 2 seat to campaign at-large.


At large representatives have been linked to a mayoral run, especially Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Cannon and David Howard. Cannon abandoned a mayoral campaign in 2005, which temporarily derailed his political ambitions but has successfully run at-large campaigns that earned him the mayor pro tem designation. He’s the council’s longest-serving member.


Michael Barnes, who represents District 4, has experience in running a countywide campaign, losing the Mecklenburg County district attorney race to Andrew Murray in 2010. Barnes and Cannon clashed with Foxx over streetcar funding and capital spending, which would make for a spirited campaign issue.


State lawmakers from Charlotte are also eyeing the job. N.C. Sens. Malcolm Graham and Dan Clodfelter have been prominently mentioned as potential candidates, as has Rep. Becky Carney. All three are Democrats, the minority party in the General Assembly where Republicans have an iron clad majority in both chambers.


There’s also former Mecklenburg County commissioner and failed U.S. House candidate Jennifer Roberts, who has shown an ability to build coalitions across the political aisle. That would be an asset in dealing with the GOP-leaning – and city-averse – General Assembly.


Republicans, although in the minority on City Council and Charlotte’s electorate, have some interest in mounting a challenge. Former council members Edwin Peacock and John Lassiter could generate worthy campaigns, while Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board Vice Chair Tim Morgan has won countywide. Peacock, who has already announced his intentions, lost the Republican primary for the Ninth Congressional District seat last year while Lassiter lost to Foxx in the 2009 mayoral race.

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