Special election wanted to pick Charlotte mayor - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Special election wanted to pick Charlotte mayor

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There is a petition circulating that is calling on Charlotte City Council members to ask the General Assembly to change the law as it relates to filling the rest of former Mayor Patrick Cannon's term.

Cannon resigned after he was arrested for federal corruption. He has nearly two years left in his term. The petition wants the voters to decide who the next mayor will be and not city council members.

"I think it's the only way to restore the public's trust," Former Mayoral Candidate Edwin Peacock III said. "Is to give the public a voice in this race."

State Senator Joel Ford believes the law should be followed. It states in the case of a vacancy city council members chose a replacement.

"I find it's very interesting," Ford said. "These folks who want a special election. The Governor did not call for a special election in the 12th Congressional District. I really doubt it's going to happen.

Ford said voters wanted to hold a special election after Mel Watt vacated his 12th Congressional seat for a job in President Barack Obama's administration. That request was denied.

"Let's be fair and consistent," Ford said. "And so there is an existing law that city council gets the opportunity to pick the Mayor. We can change it after this. Let's follow the existing law."

Peacock argues these vacancies are not the same.

This is an extraordinary circumstance," Peacock said. "They (Charlotte City council members) really never dealt with anything I consider termination for cause. There isn't any precedent for this. We are in unchartered territory."

A special election could cost taxpayers about $450,000, that's why Peacock wants the election be held in November. An election is already taking place then and there would be no extra cost. The former mayoral candidate says he is not pushing this election so he could run again.

"Council and anybody else shouldn't be thinking any further than tonight." Peacock said.

Mayor Pro Tem Michael Barnes was asked about the General Assembly changing laws to hold a special election.  This is his response.

"We're capable of appointing a new mayor," Barnes said. "Without the legislature passing any bills."

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