Election to replace Watt could cost more than seven figures

Published: Aug. 2, 2013 at 7:21 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 1, 2013 at 7:21 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - When Congressman Mel Watt began his journey to become the head of the Federal Housing Authority, it threw a wrench into local politics, raising a number of questions over how he will be replaced.

Elections supervisor Michael Dickerson understands that special elections are in some instances not a one act play.

He said, "If you don't have anybody receiving 40 percent you would have a second primary, and then you would have the general election."

It means ramping up polling places, and paying staffers for their work on Election Day.

"You could be 250, 300 thousand per election," Dickerson said.

That's just the cost in Mecklenburg County.

The 12th congressional district runs along I-85 from Charlotte all the way to Greensboro, and spreads into Winston Salem.

In all six counties, the total price tag could be more than million dollars.

The candidates are already lining up, and here in Mecklenburg School board attorney George Battle is in, along with State Senator Malcolm Graham.

According to Federal Election Commission documents the field could swell to nine or more and possibly include local state representatives Rodney Moore and Beverly Earle.

"You could have three additional elections thrown on to this election season," Dickerson said."Our part would be the easy part. The tough part would be for those candidates to get out and then run."

If the senate approves Watt, then it's up to the governor to call for a special election and name a temporary replacement.

Leaders on Capitol Hill return to Washington early next month.

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