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A Quick Primary Rundown

Today is primary election day. The election season has been relatively low-key, since no federal or state offices are up for grabs. WFAE’s Ben Bradford joined All Things Considered host Mark Rumsey on Mondayfor a quick look at the races for Charlotte mayor and City Council.

RUMSEY: First, recap the race for mayor.

BRADFORD: City councilmen James Mitchell and Patrick Cannon are facing off in the Democratic primary. Mitchell is running as a faithful successor to Anthony Foxx. Cannon calls himself “the sensible choice.” In the Republican race, former city councilman Edwin Peacock is the favorite by a wide margin. There are other candidates for mayor, but they’re long-shots at best.

Every city council seat is also up for a vote.

RUMSEY: These kinds of local primaries typically draw six or seven percent of voters to the polls—why so low?

BRADFORD: Well, these are important races in the sense that the winners of the general election are going to manage the city. But, I think the obvious reason is that there aren’t the big names on the ballot. And, it’s legitimately difficult for voters to figure out the differences between relatively unknown candidates, who are discussing technical, local issues—especially when everyone’s the same party.

RUMSEY: But, the few voters that do show up will actually decide several city council races tomorrow.

BRADFORD: That’s right. Districts 1, 4, 5, and 6 all have only one party running. There are four Democrats—all new to politics—trying to win the District 4 seat in northeast Charlotte. So, whoever wins that primary is going to be a new city council member. The same thing’s happening in southeast Charlotte—District 6—where four Republicans are running to replace Andy Dulin. Acting mayor Patsy Kinsey is running for re-election to her District 1 seat, which covers Plaza Midwood and Dilworth among other areas. She’s facing Art Cardenas, who works in IT for Carolinas Healthcare System. And, John Autry is running against Mitchell Smith-Bey, a personal trainer who also plays a character called Aerobo-Cop to teach kids about fitness and nutrition. His ballot entry actually says Aerobo-Cop in parentheses.

Tomorrow’s election does not include the CMS board of Education. Those are technically non-partisan seats, so they are not on the ballot until the November general election.