CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV/Charlotte Observer) - Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles won the mayoral primary election in dominating fashion, and four incumbents appear to be headed to victory in the city council at-large primary.
Lyles, who is seeking a second term, will be the democratic candidate in the Nov. 5 general election after receiving nearly 87 percent of the vote with 174 out of 178 precincts reporting during Tuesday night’s primary election.
“Tonight’s results are indicate that Charlotteans are happy with the direction our city is headed,” Lyles said to a group of family, friends and supporters at her election party at the Park Expo and Conference Center. “If you work in Charlotte, you should be able to live in Charlotte. Together, we’re going to continue to work together to bring affordable housing, good-paying jobs and better transportation options to our city. I want to continue to earn the honor of being your mayor.”
She was facing four Democrats including Roderick Davis, Tigress McDaniel and Lucille Puckett, who have each run for office multiple times, and 20-year-old Joel Odom, who is a political newcomer.
In the Charlotte City Council at-large primary, the race featured all four at-large incumbents: Dimple Ajmera, Julie Eiselt, James Mitchell and Braxton Winston. Challenging them was District 3 incumbent LaWana Mayfield, newcomers Jorge Millares and Chad Stachowicz.
Unofficial Charlotte City Council primary election results showed four-term council member LaWana Mayfield headed to defeat, trailing in the at-large race by more than 2,000 votes, with nearly all precincts reporting. Mayfield is serving as council member from District 3, but ran at-large this year against four other Democratic incumbents and two newcomers.
Democratic incumbents in the lead late Tuesday were Winston, Mitchell, Eiselt and Ajmera. Four at-large candidates will move on to the general election. One Republican, newcomer Joshua Richardson, will be on the fall ballot.
Ajmera, first appointed to council in 2017, was the city’s first Asian American official. She chaired the council’s Environment Committee until this spring when it was combined with two other committees.
Eiselt, first elected in 2015, was top vote-getter both times she ran. She’s currently serving as mayor pro tem and chairs the council’s Transportation and Planning Committee.
Winston has pushed for equity, affordable housing and public safety measures. This year, he helped persuade the council to hire a New York-based non-profit to help vet potential deals with potential developers and investors in affordable housing.
Mitchell is the council’s senior member. He represented District 2 from 1999 to 2013, when he ran unsuccessfully for mayor. He was elected at-large in 2015 and is running for his third term. He is the chair of the council’s economic development committee.
Mayfield, first elected in 2011, has represented southwest Charlotte District 3 and is now running at-large. She’s also a past president of the National League of Cities LGBT Local Officials. She has sponsored a series of job fairs in her district.
Millares founded a non-profit called Queen City Unity, is on the city’s Community Relations Committee and is president of the county’s Hispanic American Democrats. He has worked as director of business development and sales for Red Ventures and CPI Security.
Stachowicz runs a telecomunications company called Cloverhound based in South End. After getting 47 percent of the vote in an unsuccessful 2018 Senate race against Republican Dan Bishop, he made his first run for local office.
In District 1′s primary, incumbent Democrat Larken Egleston appears to have defeated newcomer Sean Smith in this central Charlotte district. Egleston should automatically secure his spot on the council as it appears there is no Republican running against him in the November general elections.
The candidates in District 2′s primary included real estate investor Jeremy Arey. Jessica Davis, a lawyer who now works inside Mecklenburg courtrooms to help people with disabilities, former council member and state Sen. Malcolm Graham and teacher Antoinette (Toni) Green. Graham appears to have won the District 2 primary. Graham will face Republican Jacob Robinson in the November general elections.
The candidates in District 3′s primary included attorney Terry Brown, community organizer Caleb Theodros and Victoria Watlington, an engineer who’s worked as vice chair of the Civil Service Board. Watlington appears to have one the primary election. No Republican has filed to run against her in the November general elections.
The candidates in District 4′s primary included Richmond Baker, a computer scientist/engineer, Gabe Cartagena, 21-year-old newcomer, business owner Charlene Henderson, Renee Perkins Johnson, CEO of a company that helps trauma victims, Charles Robinson, founder of a nonprofit that helps young people and insurance agent Sean Thompson. Johnson appears to have one the primary and will now face Republican Brandon Pierce in the November general elections.
In District 5′s primary, incumbent Matt Newton, an attorney, faces contractor Vinroy Reid and electrical technician Mark Vincent. Newton appears to have won the race. With no Republican in the race, Newton will automatically keep his seat on city council.
District 6 has no primary. There, Republican incumbent Tariq Bokhari faces Democrat Gina Navarrette, a neuropsychologist, in November.
In District 7′s primary, veteran councilman and Republican incumbent, Ed Driggs, appears to have defeated Victoria Nwasike.