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The Party Line is dedicated to examining regional issues and policies through the figures who give shape to them. These are critical, complex, and even downright confusing times we live in. There’s a lot to navigate nationally and in the Carolinas; whether it’s elections, debates on gay marriage, public school closings, or tax incentives for economic development. The Party Line’s goal is to offer a provocative, intelligent look at the issues and players behind the action; a view that ultimately offers the necessary insight for Carolina voters to hold public servants more accountable.

The 2017 Election Season Officially Kicks Off Today

Mecklenburg County

Today is the seventh day of the seventh month of the year. And there are more than a few Mecklenburg County residents hoping today's date is a lucky start to their election or re-election campaigns.

Yes, there have already been candidate forums, fundraising emails aplenty and yard signs are already sprouting like some kind of patriotic perennial. Still, the 2017 election season doesn’t officially kick off in Mecklenburg County until 12:00 p.m. today.

That's when the two week candidate filing period begins.

Honestly, it's not all that exciting to watch. Candidates turn in paperwork and pay the filing fee. But only after the filing period ends will we truly know just who is running for what.

Take the race for Charlotte mayor. We know Jennifer Roberts will run for re-election and face Vi Lyles, Joel Ford and possibly others in the Democratic primary. On the Republican side, Kenny Smith is, so far, running unopposed. But that could change.     

And this year's election will feature a number of seats with no incumbents. There will be at least four open seats on the Charlotte City Council, and three more on the Mecklenburg County school board.

And of course, there are other interesting races in the county. Take the race for Cornelius Board of Commissioners. The board is officially non-partisan but three candidates are associated with a party of sorts, they are well known critics of the I-77 toll lane project.

Tom Bullock decided to trade the khaki clad masses and traffic of Washington DC for Charlotte in 2014. Before joining WFAE, Tom spent 15 years working for NPR. Over that time he served as everything from an intern to senior producer of NPR’s Election Unit. Tom also spent five years as the senior producer of NPR’s Foreign Desk where he produced and reported from Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Haiti, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon among others. Tom is looking forward to finally convincing his young daughter, Charlotte, that her new hometown was not, in fact, named after her.