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The Voice of the Black Community

Local & State

Primary results bring on changes
Lyles’ win, close District 2 finish highlight races
Published Wednesday, September 13, 2017
by Herbert L. White

Charlotte Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyles earned the Democratic nomination for mayor with a resounding primary win Tuesday.

Ballots – 13 of them in Charlotte City Council District 2 – have consequences.

The margin of victory between Dr. Justin Harlow and J’Tanya Adams for the open seat was 13 votes in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, with Harlow coming out on top. Harlow finished with 2,358 compared to Adams’ 2,345. As a heavily Democratic district, the primary is a de facto general election, with Harlow a likely winner in November.

As expected, turnout was light, with 43,337 ballots cast, or almost 8 percent of Charlotte’s nearly 545,000 eligible voters, according to the State Board of Elections.

At the top of the local municipal ticket, Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyles turned back incumbent Mayor Jennifer Roberts in the Democratic primary, earning 46.1 percent of all ballots cast. If Lyles beats Republican nominee Kenny Smith in November, she would become the city’s first black woman mayor.

“I have so many thank yous to make!” Lyles posted to her Twitter account. Now…rest…it’s been a long, fruitful day. I am humbled. I am proud. I am ready.”

Roberts, who was elected in 2015, finished second with 36.2 percent and N.C. Sen. Joel Ford was third with 15.9 percent. Lyles and Ford made leadership a campaign theme, targeting Roberts for a slow response during last year’s unrest after Keith Scott was shot and killed by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officer.

Most political observers figured Roberts would benefit from a large campaign war chest and a split among black voters between Lyles and Ford. That wasn’t the case, however, as Lyles ran the table in mostly-black precincts and was competitive away from the urban core.

Smith, who represents District 6 on the council, easily won the Republican primary with 88.6 percent of the vote. Gary Dunn was second with 6.1 percent and Kimberly Paige Barnette, who urged voters to support her because she’s white, finished with 5.1 percent.

Not only will there be a new face after the mayor’s race, there’s massive turnover on council.

Democratic incumbents James Mitchell and Julie Eiselt will be joined by political newcomer Braxton Winston II and interim District 5 representative Dimple Ajmera on the at-large ballot. Mitchell earned 19.3 percent of votes cast, followed by Winston at 17 percent. Eiselt was third at 16.8 percent and Ajmera took 13.3 percent.

Larken Egleston knocked off longtime District 1 representative Patsy Kinsey with 49.6 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary and Darrell Bonapart beat Matt Newton in the District 5 race. Bonapart earned 34.5 percent of the vote to Newton’s 28.4.

District 4 incumbent Greg Phipps easily won the Democratic nomination with 40.2 percent of ballots cast, while Priscilla Johnson was second at 29.4 percent.

Tariq Scott Bokhari  won the Republican nomination in District 6 with 53.6 percent of the vote compared to Eric Laster’s 46.36.


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