Monday, February 27, 2012

A scramble to lead Mecklenburg

Who will lead Mecklenburg County? The answer is as uncertain as at any time in recent memory, so expect a scramble in the next day or two.

With Chairman Harold Cogdell's announcement this morning that he won't run for reelection, the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners is assured of as much turnover it has seen in many years. It may be the first time that all the at-large seats are open. In addition to the until-now-Democrat Cogdell, Democrat Jennifer Roberts and Republican Jim Pendergraph are not running for reelection. The at-large seats are crucial because they usually determine which party holds power, and the chairman is usually one of the three members elected at-large.

With Republican Neil Cooksey stepping down in south Charlotte's District 5 and Republican Bill James, the board's longest-serving member, facing a potentially tough primary challenge in southern Mecklenburg's District 6, five or more of the nine seats may be filled by new faces in November.

District 1 Republican Karen Bentley is running again, along with incumbent Democrats Vilma Leake, George Dunlap and Dumont Clarke. That's likely to give that part of the board a decidedly liberal bent.

Potential candidates and those with an interest in the board of commissioners (including CMS, the Charlotte Chamber and others) are surely scrambling today. With only two more days before filing closes, both parties will see an opportunity to win two of the at-large seats and control of the board. The outcome will help shape the future of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Mecklenburg residents' taxes.

Each party can field three candidates in the general election. So far, each party has just two people running at-large, and none of the four has much name recognition. Expect more candidates to jump in in the next 48 hours, including perhaps some well-known names.

-- Taylor Batten


Anonymous said...

Dr Leake for Chairperson. She's done more for her people than everyone else combined. We need her vision to lead us through the challenges of the 21st Century.

sanitizer said...

just whom are "her" people"? Oh you mean her "folks" This is exactly why she should not even be re-elected.

Ghoul said...

Dr Leake would love the opportunity, but she will be heading the African-Americans For Obama campaign and will not have time. She is nomination her lapel flower for the post though.

Wiley Coyote said...

Vilma usually has no clue as to what is being discussed or what page of the agenda they are on.

If she makes Chair, there will be more than rats leaving the sinking ship of Mecklenburg.

Anonymous said...

Wiley is dead on about Vilma "where do I live?" Leake.

BTW, there are THREE parties (don't forget the Libertarians) and the Observer's desire for "familiar names" will only lead to the election of the same dodos who've gotten us into this mess.