Status-quo election results: Charlotte City Council incumbents sweep low-turnout primary

Status-quo election results: Charlotte City Council incumbents sweep low-turnout primary

Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

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23,676 Charlotte voters decided that the next city council will look largely the same.

  • All incumbents defended their positions, including District 4’s Renee Perkins Johnson, whom Mayor Vi Lyles essentially tried to oust by endorsing her opponent.
  • Victoria Watlington is on track to move into an at-large seat, representing the entire city. Tiawana Brown will likely replace her in District 3, but first must overcome a Republican opponent in November.

By the numbers: About 5% of 482,577 eligible Democrat and unaffiliated voters cast ballots in this crucial primary. Polls were noticeably slow on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Because the Democratic party is dominant in Charlotte, many races are essentially decided in the primary.

Here are the results:

Mayor: Vi Lyles once again defeated Democratic candidate Lucille Puckett in the primaries. She received more than 85% of votes.

  • Lyles will face two challengers in the general election: Republican Misun Kim and libertarian Rob Yates.

At-Large: The four sitting council members in the race won the Democratic nominations: Dimple Ajmera, LaWana Slack-Mayfield, James “Smuggie” Mitchell, Jr. and Watlington. Ajmera once again secured the most votes in the election: around 19,000.

  • Candidates Ben Copeland and Charlene Henderson fell behind by thousands of votes and will not advance to the general election.
  • Libertarian candidate Steven DiFiore must fight to squeeze out one of the four Democrats come November.

District 2: Malcolm Graham (incumbent) defeated Gary Linn Young II with about 75% of votes. The former state senator will serve another term representing Third and Fourth Wards, Wesley Heights and other northern neighborhoods.

District 3: With 60% of votes, Tiawana Brown came out on top over Melinda Lilly and Warren Turner. She must win the general to serve this western district.

District 4: Renee Perkins Johnson (incumbent) will once against represent the University City area after defending her seat against Wil Russell and Olivia Scott.

  • Although Mayor Lyles endorsed Russell, the Black Political Caucus backed Johnson, proving its influence once again.
  • It was a closer race than others, though. Johnson won with about 450 more supporters than Russell.

District 5: Marjorie Molina (incumbent) will serve a second term representing east Charlotte. She surpassed Vinroy Reid and Curtis Hayes Jr. with 53% of the votes, and she faces no challengers in the general election.

The big picture: So far the council makeup will be Democrats Dante Anderson (District 1), Graham (District 2), Johnson (District 4), Molina (District 5) and Republican Ed Driggs (District 7). All are sitting members.

The two to-be-decided district races are:

  • District 6: In south Charlotte’s sixth district, Tariq Bokhari (incumbent) and Stephanie Hand will rematch. Hand was about 350 votes shy of beating Bokhari last election.
  • District 3: Brown faces Republican James Bowers in the general. The district is 50% Democrat.

What’s next: The general election is Nov. 7.

[Go deeper: Who is, and isn’t, running in Mecklenburg County 2023 elections]

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