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Charlotte's City Council race includes a mayor who went to prison and other former members

Nick de la Canal

In this episode of Inside Politics: Election 2022, we take a look at Charlotte City Council. Specifically, we're going to dig into the race for the council's four at-large seats. Those are positions that are elected by voters across Charlotte, not just people who live in specific districts.

And one of those at-large seats is being sought by former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon, who is running in the Democratic primary on May 17. Cannon, of course, spent time in federal prison for accepting $50,000 in cash and gifts when he was on council and mayor. He addressed his past in an interview last month:

“There’s no real rhyme or reason as to why it was done, and I make no excuses for it. Instead, I wish to right my wrong to prove to people that that’s not the real Patrick Cannon.”

Cannon headlines the field, but there are other fascinating candidates, too, like LaWana Mayfield, who four years ago pushed a conspiracy theory that questioned whether planes crashed into the World Trade Center on 9/11.

Joining us to talk about the Democratic slate is former at-large City Council member Michael Barnes, who ran for mayor in 2015 and lost in the Democratic primary to eventual winner Jennifer Roberts. And to talk about the Republicans' chances — if there are any — is former council member Kenny Smith. He also reached for the stars in 2017 but lost to Vi Lyles for mayor.

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Steve Harrison is WFAE's politics and government reporter. Prior to joining WFAE, Steve worked at the Charlotte Observer, where he started on the business desk, then covered politics extensively as the Observer’s lead city government reporter. Steve also spent 10 years with the Miami Herald. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.
Tim Funk is one of the hosts of the "Inside Politics: Election 2022 podcast." He spent most of his 40-year journalism career at The Charlotte Observer, covering politics in its Raleigh bureau and, later, as its Washington correspondent. His other Observer beats over the years included race and immigration, TV and radio, and faith & values.
Jim Morrill is a native of the Chicago area who's worked in the Carolinas since 1979. He covered politics and government for the Charlotte Observer for almost 40 years. He's won several press awards and in 1999 was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard. He's taught about NC politics at UNC-Charlotte and Davidson College.