Our Picks for the City Council Primary

The September 10th Primary Election will give Charlotte voters a chance to dramatically change the makeup of their City Council. Only six of the 11 seats are pursued by incumbents, and city will also have a new Mayor this December.

REBIC has been evaluating candidates in each race since qualifying ended in July, using both a written survey and formal interviews with a panel of Realtors®, home builders, commercial brokers, and developers of office, retail, industrial and multifamily projects. Here are our endorsements for the Primary:


Two very capable incumbent councilmen are vying for the Democratic nomination for Mayor, but Patrick Cannon gets our endorsement over James ‘Smuggie’ Mitchell. While we’ve haven’t seen eye-to-eye with him on every issue, Patrick has a strong grasp of our industry’s priorities (his wife is a Realtor®) and a track record of being deliberative and fiscally responsible during his long tenure on council.

Edwin Peacock is the only serious candidate in the Republican primary, and the former councilman should get your vote. He has a good vision for increasing economic development, along with the experience to make it happen.

City Council At Large:

Voters citywide will choose four of seven At-Large candidates in the Democratic primary to advance to the General Election. District 4 councilman Michael Barnes is running at large for the first time, and while we don’t usually agree with him on policy, he has demonstrated a willingness to listen and give our industry a fair hearing. Incumbent Claire Fallon also gets our nod. She’s an independent thinker and her time on Planning Commission gives her a strong grasp of zoning and land use issues.

As an affordable housing developer, David Howard also has an excellent understanding of our industry, and has performed ably during his time on city council. Our fourth At-Large endorsement goes to a relative newcomer,Vi Alexander Lyles. She is a bright and engaging professional whose experience in city management will bring a fresh perspective to the council.

There are only four Republican candidates in the Primary, so all will advance to the November ballot.

District 1:

Council members selected Patsy Kinsey (D) to serve as Mayor this summer because they recognize that her experience, professionalism and willingness to work across party lines made her the right choice to replace Anthony Foxx. Voters should concur with their wisdom and return her for another term in her district (she is not seeking the mayoral nomination). There are no Republican candidates vying for the seat.

District 2:

Al Austin (D) was the only candidate in this race who returned our survey and came in for an interview. He is bright, amiable and will serve the district well. There are no Republican candidates vying for the seat, which is currently held by mayoral candidate James Mitchell.

District 3:

There is no competitive primary for this race. The incumbent, LaWana Mayfield (D), is running unopposed. Eric Netter (R) and C. Travis Wheat (L) are also unopposed in the primary election.

District 4:

While Gregg Phipps has experience on both planning commission and city council, our nod goes to newcomer Will Russell. His service on City stakeholder committees has given him a strong grasp of zoning and land use issues, and his engaging personality will make him an effective replacement for Michael Barnes on council. There are no Republican candidates vying for the seat.

District 5:

Incumbent John Autry (D) is running against token opposition, and will easily be re-elected. We don’t often agree with him on policy issues, but he is always willing to consider our perspective and is passionate about bringing redevelopment to his district. He deserves another 2 years on Council. There are no Republican candidates vying for the seat.

District 6:

Two truly outstanding candidates are running in the Republican primary to replace the retiring Andy Dulin in District 6.  Kenny Smith is a commercial broker with an outstanding knowledge of our industry. He was impressive both during the our interview process and in our recent Candidate Forum. Attorney Kate Payerle, another political newcomer, is extremely bright and articulate. She presents herself well and would bring a deliberative nature that would greatly benefit the district.

Either Kate or Kenny would make a superb addition to City Council, and both get our endorsement over their opponents. There are no Democratic candidates vying for the seat.

District 7:

Of the three Republican candidates running to replace Warren Cooksey, the standout is Ed Driggs. He’s intelligent and thoughtful, and would bring a wealth of financial management experience to City Council budget deliberations. We also believe he would work effectively across party lines and look out for the interests of the city as a whole. He earns our endorsement and deserves your vote.

Duncan Wilson is a fresh face to Charlotte politics and someone we hope will stick around for some time to come. He possesses abundant energy and understands what Charlotte needs to grow. But Jay Privette has a divisive vision for Charlotte that could set our city back for many years. The Democrat primary for the seat is not contested.

The Primary Election will be held on Tuesday, September 10th, but Early Voting is already underway (click HERE for more details). REBIC will be distributing a Voter Guide to members of our industry next week, and we encourage everyone to get out and vote!

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