Thursday, May 23, 2013

Mayoral Power Rankings, Version 2.0

Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx had a smooth confirmation hearing Wednesday before the Senate’s Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. His nomination for Secretary of Transportation is likely to get approved, and Charlotteans will be voting for a new mayor come November.

Who will be waving happily to supporters on Election Night? Earlier this month, we gave you our inaugural Mayoral Power Rankings - the candidates we think have the best shot to be Charlotte's 56th mayor. There's been some movement since then, with one candidate (mayor pro-tem Patrick Cannon) officially joining the race, and a couple (state Rep. Ruth Samuelson and former county commissioner Jennifer Roberts) saying no thanks to a mayoral run.

Remember, these are not endorsements. They're not necessarily who we think should have the best chance in November. Also, expect the list to keep changing as folks decide they want in or out of the race, and as the campaign heats up.

The rankings:

1. Patrick Cannon - D: Mayor pro-tem made his run official this week. Has solid support in important Democratic communities and has won citywide multiple times. He's controversial, though, and if state Sen. Malcolm Graham doesn't have a congressional seat (Mel Watt's) to run for, Cannon's path gets more challenging.
2. Dan Clodfelter - D: Yes, he's only saying he's "favorably inclined" to run for the job. But the longtime state senator brings crossover appeal, even if "expanding the sales tax" isn't a great platform these days. If he gets in, he'll challenge Cannon in these rankings.  
3. Edwin Peacock - R: The highest ranking Republican and a former City Council member. He's the establishment candidate who also has crossover appeal, and thus far, no grassroots conservative has surfaced to oppose him.
4. Becky Carney - D: State rep and former county commission vice chairman has grassroots standing and support. Would be a force with the female vote, and many males, too.
5. Malcolm Graham - D: State senator and former City Council member has a strong network of support. He wants Mel Watt's congressional seat, but Watt's confirmation to the Federal Housing Finance Agency looks dicey.
6. John Lassiter - R: Smart and earnest former councilman. If he decides to run, he shoots up this list. But he probably won't.
7. Michael Barnes - D: He was standing by Cannon's side at Cannon's announcement this week, suggesting he's not mounting a run of his own. 
8. David Howard - D: City Council member looks likely to run for re-election to his council at-large seat, but he'd have significant support if he jumps into the mayor's race.