Charlotte politics will have plenty of new faces. Incumbents fall in multiple local primary races

Charlotte politics will have plenty of new faces. Incumbents fall in multiple local primary races
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Charlotte’s political scene will have plenty of new faces this fall.

Numerous incumbents — from a sitting Congressman to several long-serving state politicians — were defeated by members of their own party in Tuesday’s primary election.

While none of them were particularly massive upsets, they do represent a significant change in local politics.

But the 2018 primary was not a true change election. Incumbents rolled in the county commissioners race and in a key suburban state Senate race.

Here’s a quick rundown of what happened.

South Charlotte will have a new Congressman

U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger lost his re-election bid to Charlotte pastor Mark Harris by less than 1,000 votes, despite winning in his home county.

The narrow result was a reversal of 2016, where Pittenger beat Harris by just 134 votes.

Mark Harris

In the Democratic primary for this district, Dan McCready dominated with more than 80 percent of the vote. The matchup against Harris will be one of the most closely watched contests in the United States.

In the other U.S. House primary, Rep. Alma Adams trounced the nominal opponents she faced in the 12th Congressional District. She’ll have no trouble winning re-election.

Two long-serving Democrats in the General Assembly go down

Sen. Joel Ford and Rep. Rodney Moore both lost their primary races after first losing support from the establishment in their party.

Challengers Mujtaba Mohammed and Nasif Majeed comfortably defeated the two incumbents — and will likely have no trouble earning seats in heavily blue districts this November.

Ford has a reputation as something of a rogue in his party, and last year finished a distant third in the race for Charlotte mayor. He drew flack from his base for what they considered anti-LGBT positions. He had served three terms in the state Senate.

N.C. Sen. Joel Ford

Moore was tripped up by financial reporting issues in his bid for a fifth term in the state House.

Both Mohammed and Majeed were endorsed by the Black Political Caucus of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, which has considerable sway in these urban Charlotte districts.

Former homicide detective and reality TV star to become Mecklenburg sheriff

Garry McFadden cruised to a comfortable victory in the Democratic primary for Mecklenburg County sheriff. With no Republicans in the race, McFadden will wear the badge.

Garry McFadden

He unseats Sheriff Irwin Carmichael, who finished a distant third in the primary. He was one of the last remaining conservative Democrats in North Carolina, and had pushed supporters in the Republican Party to switch to unaffiliated so they could vote for him.

The biggest issue in the campaign was the 287(g) program, which Mecklenburg County uses to identify illegal immigrants when they come to the jail. They are then turned over to federal immigration officials. Carmichael had supported the program — but it will likely end under McFadden.

No youth movement in the county commissioners race

Millennial candidates dominated the City Council election last year. Hoping to follow in their footsteps, two well-supported younger candidates ran for the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners.

Neither won in the Democratic primary. Instead, all three incumbents scored easy victories and will likely win in November.

Commissioner Pat Cotham won the most votes, followed by Trevor Fuller and Ella Scarborough.

Challenger Ray McKinnon came in fourth for three seats.

District Attorney Spencer Merriweather dominates his first election

Merriweather was appointed to his position after former DA Andrew Murray took a federal prosecutor role. But he had massive support in Charlotte and won easily, with nearly 80 percent of the vote.

Photo by Spencer Merriweather via Facebook

Dan Bishop beats well-funded opponent

In a race that was primarily a referendum on House Bill 2, state Sen. Dan Bishop trounced his opponent to secure the Republican nomination.

Bishop was one of the primary writers of the bill that limited cities ability to craft nondiscrimination ordinances.

Challenger Beth Monaghan cited the issue as one of the reasons she entered the race, and ran as more of a moderate.

Bishop garnered more than 70 percent of the vote.

He’ll likely face Chad Stachowicz, who won the Democratic primary by just 6 votes.


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