The race for Charlotte mayor might be taking a somewhat unexpected turn. Charlotte City Council member James Mitchell told the Observer's Steve Harrison moments ago that he's likely to run for the office. If he does, the Democrats suddenly have a primary on their hands as Mitchell would join Mayor pro-tem Patrick Cannon in the race to replace Mayor Anthony Foxx.
Who will be waving happily to supporters on Election Night? Last 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 Cannon joining Republican Edwin Peacock as declared candidates, and others (state Rep. Ruth Samuelson and former county commissioner Jennifer Roberts) saying no thanks to a mayoral run.
And what of N.C. Sen. Dan Clodfelter, who said earlier that he was "favorably inclined" to run for the job? He's been quiet since, and we're hearing he's cooled some on the idea.
All of which leaves us with the Mayoral Rankings 3.0. 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.
1. Patrick Cannon - D: Mayor pro-tem has solid support in important Democratic communities and has won citywide multiple times. He's controversial, though, and some key Democratic figures don't much like him - certainly not as much as they like Mitchell. Cannon helped himself with Democrats, however, by voting this month for Charlotte's streetcar extension, which he previously opposed.
2. James Mitchell - D: Mitchell is well-liked by the party establishment in Charlotte, and he's been behind popular efforts to bring the Charlotte Knights uptown and establish a new minority- and gender-based hiring program for city contracts. He's never run in a city-wide race, however. Does his District 2 popularity translate?
3. Edwin Peacock - R: The highest ranking Republican and former City Council member is the GOP establishment candidate who has crossover appeal. Thus far, no Republican has emerged to oppose him, and time is running short for someone new to declare and put together a legitimate campaign. If a Republican does enter, look for it to be a grassroots conservative.
4. Becky Carney - D: Carney may see an opportunity for a primary victory if Cannon and Mitchell split the black vote. She's a legit candidate on her own - a state rep and former county commission vice chairman who has grassroots standing and support. She'd be a force with the female vote.
5. Dan Clodfelter - D: Has he cooled to running? He's a longtime state senator who might bring crossover appeal, but political observers say his time in Raleigh would be a drag on his name recognition. That's what campaigns are for, however.
6. Malcolm Graham - D: A wild card. State senator and former City Council member wants Mel Watt's congressional seat, but Watt's confirmation to the Federal Housing Finance Agency continues to look iffy. If Graham pivoted to the mayoral race, he'd bring a strong network of support.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Posted by The Observer Editorial Board at 1:35 PM