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Cannon Beats Mitchell, Will Face Peacock; Other Council Seats Set

Ben Bradford

The final matchup for Charlotte mayor took shape Tuesday night. Patrick Cannon beat fellow city councilman James Mitchell in the Democratic primary. Cannon and the Republican nominee, former city councilman Edwin Peacock, will face off in the general election. Several other city council seats are also set.

Cannon won the primary with about 56 percent of the vote, to Mitchell’s 40. While he won, it was an unexpected challenge. Mitchell entered the race late, but gained steam near the end, out-raising Cannon last month and picking up high-profile endorsements, including from former mayor Harvey Gantt. Now, Cannon will have to face a more well-funded opponent in Edwin Peacock. The Democratic candidate says he tried to conserve his war chest.

“It was important to me to be as conservative as I could,” Cannon said. “I knew I was taking a risk in doing that, but I understood also that if I could hold on to what I had, it would pay off in the end, so hopefully we could use those revenues in the general election.”

As of September, Cannon raised just shy of $150,000 and spent a little over half of it. Peacock has raised $35,000 more than him and also spent a little over half. The difference? While Cannon had to focus on Mitchell, Peacock easily won his primary and says he’s been laying the groundwork for his general election campaign.

“The strategy is to reach out to Republicans, unaffiliateds, and then to our Democrats we feel will be with us on the issues of the day,” Peacock said. “So, we’ll be spending money obviously on television, on our advertising on the Internet, and then also on mailings.”

Peacock says he will begin buying TV ad time this week. But, while he holds the fundraising advantage, Peacock will campaign for an electorate made up of twice as many Democrats as Republicans.

All told, 34,000 voters turned up for the election—that’s a bit over six percent of registered voters, and pretty typical for local primaries. Lauren Puckett voted at Precinct 30, but said she only remembered the election was happening when someone mentioned it on Twitter. And, she had a hard time choosing between the two Democratic city councilmen for mayor.

“I really didn’t have any distinguishing factors to propel me to pick one or the other,” Puckett said.

Despite the low turnout, the primaries probably decided a number of city council races. Republican Kenny Smith will win the retiring Andy Dulin’s seat—he’s currently unopposed in the general election. Similarly, acting mayor Patsy Kinsey takes her old seat back, as does John Autry.

Councilwoman Beth Pickering will not return for a second term, after she did not place high enough in the voting for At-Large Democrats. The four who will advance to the general election are current council members Michael Barnes, David Howard, and Claire Green Fallon, along with former assistant city manager Vi Lyles.

Districts 2 and 4 will most likely have runoffs after the top Democratic candidates failed to earn 40 percent of the vote.