The Six Candidates Running For Mayor Of The Queen City

This Fall, the Queen City will possibly elect a new King…or Queen since there is one female in the race.

Right now, Dan Clodfelter holds the position of mayor in Charlotte. Clodfelter was appointed after Mayor Patrick Cannon resigned in disgrace in March of 2014 after being arrested on corruption charges. Cannon was later convicted and sentenced to 44 months in prison for wire fraud and bribery.

The conviction made Cannon a felon and stripped him of his voting rights, but that didn’t stop him from voting before heading to prison. That illegal vote added another felony to Cannon’s list and he was indicted for it.

After the Cannon debacle, the city needs a clean slate and Charlotte’s mayoral race has gotten crowded, with 4 Democrats and 2 Republicans vying for the seat. Analysts say this mayoral race could become very expensive.

Who are the Democrats?
The Democrats are Dan Clodfelter, City Council member and Mayor Pro-Tem, Michael Barnes, City Council member David Howard, and former Chair of the county commissioners, Jennifer Roberts.

Clodfelter is already off to an apparent rough start – even with his fellow Democrats. When he was appointed to the position, the idea was he wasn’t going to stay there or run to keep the office.

Clodfelter, appointed by council in April 2014 afterPatrick Cannon was arrested on corruption charges, originally pledged to only serve out the rest of Cannon’s term. Barnes and others have referred to Clodfelter’s promise not to run as a point of contention. Clodfelter has said he never ruled out a mayoral bid.Bizjournals 2-10-15

So, we’ve seen that four Democrats are running.

Who are the Republicans?
The Republicans are Scott Stone and Edwin Peacock.

Stone is the President of American Engineering, who unsuccessfully challenged Anthony Foxx in 2011. Stone served on the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) of Charlotte from 2006 through 2010. During 2009 and 2010, Stone was appointed chairman of the BAC by then Mayor, Pat McCrory.
[Read Stone’s “About” page on his campaign site.]

Peacock is an investment/financial planner at Northwestern Mutual and served on the City Council as a member at-large from 2007-11. He lost his 2011 bid for City Council.

In 2012, Peacock ran for NC House district Nine and was knocked out in the primary. Peacock then challenged Patrick Cannon in 2013 and lost by six points; voter turnout for the race was somewhere around only 18 percent.
[Read Peacock’s “About” page on his campaign site.]

Stone seems to be on track going after issues like the budget and opposing the streetcar project; Fiscal issues are clear priorities for Stone.

Peacock’s priorities, past and present, are not quite as clear. According to Bizjournals, the airport, replacing the city manager, transportation and police chiefs seem to top his list. In fact, it’s not really clear from this May Bizjournals article that Peacock is clear about being a Republican:

WBT reporter Chris Miller was the first to note that Peacock, in his campaign video, never mentions being a Republican. In Charlotte, registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 2-to-1 margin and unaffiliated voters have also increased at a faster rate than those in the GOP.

“He’s bringing something to my attention that I hadn’t necessarily thought about,” Peacock told me.
Bizjournals 5-20-15

Peacock’s comment above continued and devolved into a Jedi-hand wave moment, referring to himself in third person:

“I think you’ve got to go back to what’s Edwin Peacock done since 2007 and that’s been to run on a municipal level to a very broad and general electorate. I think when we boil down to local issues, I’m always asking the fundamental question, where do we differ on local issues? I find there’s a separation between a lot of people’s national identities with presidential candidates and what they’re expecting from local leaders. We’ve always been general election-focused, even though we’re going to be in a primary most likely.” Bizjournals 5-20-15

Stone commented on Peacock’s apparent lack of Republican ticket enthusiasm:

“It’s interesting that he wants to be the Republican nominee, but he isn’t proud to be a Republican,” Stone told me. “I’m not shying away from being a Republican. I don’t think being a Republican or a conservative will hurt (in the general election).” As for how Peacock’s entry changes the race, Stone answered, “We wish he had been more aggressive (running against) Cannon two years ago. He’d probably be mayor.” Bizjournals 5-20-15

A look at an interview with Peacock from the 2013 race is interesting as well.  Scroll down to the 6th question. It’s a big one and starts with the sentence, “You have, over the course of your public service in Charlotte, proven yourself to be what I think many people would call a moderate Republican.”

Peacock’s first two sentences of his answer say quite a lot if you’re paying attention:

Well, my past experience has definitely shown my independence. I’ve not agreed [with some party platform ideas] since I answered my first Mecklenburg LGBT Political Action Committee (MeckPAC) questionnaire in 2007. What I noticed is what’s causing our party to atrophy and to recede is that they’ve gone from a party about prosperity and economic opportunity and limited government and fiscally responsible behavior to trying to take what they believe is high moral ground on social issues.  – 10-11-13

Let’s look at just those first two sentences.

First sentence:  His first LGBT PAC questionaire in 2007? How awesome. Here come the transgender bathroom rights? Comply is the new Coexist?  The implication here is that Peacock will answer the LGBT PAC’s questions each year but not Project Vote Smart’s “Political Courage Test“?

Second sentence: Hi, ever heard of the Tea Party?  And no, the Republicans in general aren’t trying to take the moral high ground on social issues. A novice politico can tell you that the Democrats made social issues a narrative and hit Republicans over the head with it, right along with calling them racists, bigots and extremists.  Arguably, some Republicans allowed themselves to be hit over the head though. But that’s not the question here, the quest is why is Peacock using a Democrat talking point?

Don’t stop with these sentences, read the whole passage.  Then go read a Q and A that Creative Loafing did with Peacock in 2013. Pay attention to his responses –“Relationships matter…”.

Does this race really have two Republicans in it or only one with the other just in Republican clothing?  With interviews like this one and videos like this one where the words Republican and Democrat are totally omitted, voters may never really know for sure.

Related Reading:

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a freelance journalist and is currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_
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