Primary Voting September 12 Will Lock In Several Seats.

by Mary Hopper.

While the news media has focused on the large number of millennial candidates in Charlotte’s City Council elections, little attention has been paid to the fact that more women (8 of 12 including the Mayor) are serving on City Council than ever before.  That number was boosted when two women (Carlenia Ivory in District 2 and Dimple Ajmera in District 5) were appointed to seats vacated by men.   Since they promised not to run for those seats, that total will not hold.

But there are a number of good women running for city and county office in the upcoming election.  Please pay attention to these races and support those you can with your vote. You need to start doing that TODAY since, as you will see below, some races will be decided on September 12.  And, plan to stay involved through to November 7.

There is a simple axiom at play: to get more women into elected positions, we must put more women in the pipeline.  That pipeline begins at the local level.  And that process begins September 12.

If you are registered as a Democrat or Unaffiliated and live in District 1, 4 or 5, your district representative will be decided on September 12 since there are no Republicans seeking those seats. The September 12 primary will also decide who will be on the ballot from Districts 2, 3, 6 and 7, all the at-large seats and in the mayor’s race.

If you are not sure what district you are in, put your address into the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections website and it will tell you.  This link will take you directly to the correct page.  The MeckBOE website also lists who is running for office, notes absentee and early voting details, and you can even print out a sample ballot.

There are a number of trends that might be of interest:

  • With the exception of a sole woman (Kimberley Paige Barnette) who filed for mayor, no Republican women are running for City Council. That is stunning since many Republican women have won seats in past elections.
  • In two cases (Patsy Kinsey in District 1 and Lawana Mayfield in District 3), men are running against incumbents, so women could conceivably lose seats.
  • It should be noted that there are first time women candidates running  both in District 2 and 4.  J’Tanya Adams faces three Democratic men in District 2 where the winner will face a Republican male in November. In District 4, Priscilla Johnson faces three Democratic males on September 12.  Since no Republican has filed, the primary’s winner is elected.
  • As many as four Council seats are sure to turn over. So if having some experience  balance out newcomers is important to you, factor that into your decision making.
  • Three Democratic at-large incumbents (Julie Eiselt, Claire Fallon and James Mitchell) face eight male opponents as well as Ajmera in the September 12 primary. Some incumbents may not survive the primary as the field winnows down to four Democrats moving on to November 7.
  • The at-large slate includes three Republican men who have no primary and a Libertarian male. They all move on automatically to November 7.
  • With only four at large seats up for grabs in November, women could lose a seat or two – (Now they hold 3 of the 4 seats)

As is often the case, the mayor’s race dominates media attention. In the Democratic mayoral primary, two high-profile women are running – current Mayor Roberts and Mayor Pro Tem Lyles – but two other women have filed (Connie Johnson and Lucille Puckett), as has State Senator Joel Ford.  Republicans also have a mayoral primary with current District 6 council member Kenny Smith facing Gary Dunn and Kimberley Barnett.  The mayoral primaries could go to an October 10 runoff.

While there are very few forums to help you get to know the folks running for Council, serious candidates are campaigning at “meet and greets,” going door-to- door, mailing fliers and resorting to the dreaded “robo” calls.  Many, but not all, listed their websites when they filed, so click here for MeckBOE (Mecklenburg Board of Elections) Home Page to learn more.  It will make you a more informed voter in this important election.

Elsewhere on the November 7 ballot.

All six of Mecklenburg County’s Town Councils have non-partisan elections, as does the Charlotte Mecklenburg School Board, so there are no primaries.  That means you have time to study up as well as register to vote if you have not done so already. Those candidates are also listed at MeckBoe.

Women Count

Remember these words from one of our panelists at the CWM Spring Meeting April 18:

“There are more people sitting in this sanctuary than put me in office,” former state representative Martha Alexander said, referring to her first election to the N.C. General Assembly, which she won by 50 votes in 1990. “You count. Your advocacy counts and, more importantly, your vote counts.”

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