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Cannon realizes ‘life goal’ with win
City Council member moves up to mayor
 
Published Wednesday, November 6, 2013 2:23 pm
by Mitch Weiss, The Associated Press

Democrat Patrick Cannon was elected mayor of North Carolina’s largest city Tuesday, defeating Republican challenger Edwin Peacock with 53 percent of the vote, compared to 47 percent for Peacock.

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FILE PHOTO
Charlotte Mayor-elect Patrick Cannon (right) says his election to the city's highest elected office is the realization of a "life goal." Cannon, a Democrat, defeated Republican Edwin Peacock on Nov. 5.

Cannon will replace Anthony Foxx, who was appointed by President Barack Obama as U.S. Transportation Secretary. Patsy Kinsey has been serving as the city’s interim mayor.

The 47-year-old Cannon is the owner of a parking management company. First elected to the City Council in 1993, Cannon is a longtime radio show host who discusses local and national political issues. He is the city’s third African American mayor, and first graduate of a historically black college (N.C. A&T State University) to win the city’s highest elected office.

“Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, I am realizing a life goal,” Cannon told supporters. “I’m so pleased that voters agreed with my platform on investing in Charlotte’s future. I’m so ready to lead us there.”

During the campaign, both Cannon and Peacock touted plans to help create new jobs in a city that has become one of the nation’s leading banking and energy centers.

Peacock made an unsuccessful bid last year for the Republican nomination in the 9th Congressional District. But the former city councilman impressed voters by campaigning as a moderate; he opposed a statewide amendment last year that banned same-sex marriage.

He was at a disadvantage — 50 percent of Charlotte’s 550,000 registered voters are Democrats. About 23 percent are Republicans, the rest unaffiliated.

The candidates sparred in several debates.

Cannon called Peacock anti-Charlotte for opposing a capital budget plan. Peacock said it was too expensive.

Peacock criticized Cannon for a city deal to provide $87.5 million for upgrades to Bank of America stadium in exchange for a commitment to stay in Charlotte at least another six years. Peacock said public trust was violated because the package was negotiated behind closed doors. But Cannon said he didn’t take part in negotiations because he asked to be recused; his parking company has a contract with the Panthers.

• Cannon will have a supermajority of Democrats to work with on City Council.

As expected, Democrats swept the four at-large seats, with Michael Barnes, Claire Fallon, David Howard and Vi Alexander Lyles the top vote-getters. Barnes, District 4’s incumbent, topped the field with 15.3 percent of the vote, followed by Lyles, a former assistant city manger in her first campaign, with 19.9 percent. The best Republican result was by Ken Harris Jr., who finished with 11.69 percent of votes tallied, far behind fourth-place Fallon’s 13.19.

District 2 will have a new representative in Democrat Al Austin, who pulled in 80 percent of the vote compared to 19.9 percent for Republican Darryl Broome. So will District 7, where Ed Driggs overwhelmed Bakari Burton with 71 percent of the tally.

Incumbents LaWana Mayfield (District 3) and Greg Phipps (District 4) won easily, as did interim Mayor Patsy Kinsey, who won the District 1 race.

• The Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board will have a pair of new district representatives.

First-time candidate Thelma Byers-Bailey routed District 2 incumbent Richard McElrath with 70.31 percent of the vote compared to 29.26. In District 6, Paul Bailey took 59.74 percent to Bolyn McClung’s 26.69 percent and Doug Wrona’s 13 percent.

• Bonds for Central Piedmont Community College and CMS earned widespread support.

Voters approved $290 million in CMS bonds, with 74.15 percent in favor of the measure. CPCC’s $210 million initiative passed with 71.66 percent in favor.

Herbert L. White of The Charlotte Post contributed to this report.

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