Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The inaugural 2015 Mayoral Power Rankings

Candidates for Charlotte's 2015 mayoral race can't file officially until July, but that hasn't stopped some from expressing various levels of desire to run, the Observer's Jim Morrill reported last week.

You know what that means: It's time for the inaugural 2015 Mayoral Power Rankings - the candidates we think have the best chance to become Charlotte's 58th mayor (and fifth since 2013.)

We did our first power rankings for the 2013 mayoral race, and if we do say so ourselves, we nailed it. At the top of our rankings in May 2013 was ... current mayor Dan Clodfelter! OK, Mayor Clodfelter took a somewhat circuitous route to the office, but of the candidates who entered the 2013 race, we had eventual winner Patrick Cannon and challenger Edwin Peacock as No. 1 and 2 in our rankings. So there's that. 

Let's try again. A reminder: These picks are not endorsements. They are not necessarily who we think should have the best chance next November. (For the record, we endorsed Peacock two years ago.) Also, the list will surely change as folks decide they want in and out of the race - and as the campaign heats up and we see who's adept on the trail.

For now, our Top 7. Tell us who we missed:

1) Dan Clodfelter - D: Thumb on the scale for the incumbent. Clodfelter remains a candidate with crossover appeal to liberals and moderates, blacks and whites. He's not been particularly inspiring as mayor - we're waiting for some vision and charisma - but dullness might be an asset to voters whose  last mayor is settling into a prison cell.

2) David Howard - D: He's the hardest worker on the City Council. He has deep roots in the African-American community. He has integrity. One disadvantage: Most of that work is the gets-things-done-behind-the-scenes variety. It's valuable, but not sexy. This election, that's OK. (See Cannon, Patrick.)

3) Jennifer Roberts - D: The most eager of the candidates, perhaps too much so for voters. But she seems to be at every meeting and function and happy event in Charlotte. As county commissioner Pat Cotham knows, that counts for more than most people think.

4) Vi Lyles - D: The first-term City Council member has the right stage presence, plus a background in city finance. But thus far, her City Council term has been little more than face time, as she seems reluctant to stake out firm positions that matter. Until she does, she'll be the rookie in the Democratic field.

5) Michael Barnes - D: Some people think the current mayor pro-tem might be the person on this list who'd make the best mayor. He's thoughtful and independent. He commands respect on the council and in the city. But he's shown little public enthusiasm for higher office, and political observers wonder if he really wants it.

6) Edwin Peacock - R: No, we don't think he's running again, either. But until he says he's not, his is the first name that people offer on the Republican side of the race. A Peacock candidacy - like any Republican candidacy in Charlotte - would be difficult. But as editorial page editor Taylor Batten wrote in 2013, it's not impossible.

7) The Unknown Republican: After Peacock, then who? City Council member Kenny Smith and county commissioner Matthew Ridenhour are smart, popular and strong public servants, but neither has won a city-wide election or seems inclined to try just yet. We hope Scott Stone doesn't inflict himself upon another election, and although Republicans and other observers murmur about Charlotte businessman Frank Dowd, we're skeptical his unbending conservatism would fly in this left-of-center city.

That leaves Republicans as weakly positioned as perhaps they've ever been in Charlotte. It's the product of a city that has become increasingly Democratic, but it's also the result of a Republican party that hasn't done enough to cultivate strong young politicians. At least some party leaders in Charlotte know that. Those who don't need only look at the list above.


Unknown said...

8) None of the above!
If this is all the city has to offer, then we're in trouble.
Pat Cannon in 2016!! If our sister city Birmingham can do it, then we can too.
Bring Back PAT!!!

James Edgar said...

Why no serious Republican candidates? That's easy. All the conservative people now live in the surrounding counties, where the taxes are lower, the schools are better and the land is cheaper. Aspiriing conservative politicians know that in NC they have a much better chance to win at the state level, where there are still enough rural conservatives to offset the cities, which have all become California-style liberal nirvanas where no Republican will ever again win a city-wide election.

Wiley Coyote said...

There are no "serious" (except Peacock) Republican candidates because all one has to do is look at demographics and party voting block in Mecklenburg County.

When the likes of Roberts, Clark, Dunlap, Helms, Tate and Leake keep getting elected over and over again, what does that tell you?

Mecklenburg County is infected with Grubers.

Shamash said...

Funny, but when I first scanned the list of candidates(before reading the article), I thought the "D" was CO's "grade" for each candidate.

Then I saw the "R"...

Of course, that made it clear.

Those "D"'s would be the "A" candidates for Charlotte, wouldn't they?

Wiley Coyote said...

I find this sentence puzzling:

It's the product of a city that has become increasingly Democratic

Hmmm... is "democratic" now defined as minority/majority?

Or should the author have used a different description of defining Charlotte as having more Democrat voters than Republican?

If memory serves me correctly, a little less than 18% of voters voted in the Charlotte/Mecklenburg elections in 2013.....

....63.67% voted straight party Democrat...

....and you got what you voted for. Patrick Cannon.

Garth Vader said...

Clodfelter was appointed by City Council only after assuring Council that he would NOT seek a full term.

Stuart Algood said...
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