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In surprise vote, district rep Dante Anderson chosen as Charlotte mayor pro tem

Dante Anderson at the dais
City of Charlotte
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Charlotte's new mayor pro tem, Dante Anderson, on Dec. 4, 2023.

The Charlotte City Council started its new term Monday night, and in a surprise decision, council members elected Dante Anderson, a relative newcomer, as mayor pro tem.

There has been a tradition that the City Council member who received the most votes in the last election becomes mayor pro tem. That’s a mostly ceremonial job — like being vice mayor.

That changed last year. Dimple Ajmera won the most votes, but didn’t get the job. And this year it happened again.

Victoria Watlington finished first in the race for four citywide seats, winning the most votes. But in a 7-4 vote, council members instead elected Dante Anderson, who represents District 1 in and around uptown — and who was first elected last year.

 The vote was contentious. Ajmera said there needs to be a process for how the mayor pro tem is backed. She then voted for Anderson.

 LaWana Mayfield said she would never vote for someone who doesn’t represent the entire city — and for someone who has been on the job for only a year. She backed Watlington.

 In the end, the council’s two Republicans backed Anderson, giving her enough support to win.

The council also swore in a new member, Tiawana Brown, who represents District 3 in the southwest part of the city.

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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.