Incumbent appears to lock up re-election with Tuesday’s results
by Mike Parks
BALLANTYNE – Charlotte City Council District 7 representative Warren Cooksey defended his seat Tuesday, Sept. 13, from an in-party challenge by Cady Lake resident Jay Privette.
With no Democratic opposition, Cooksey essentially locked up his third term on council, claiming 59.8 percent of the vote in the Republican primary.
The Mecklenburg County Board of Elections reported only 938 people voted in the District 7 race, with Cooksey taking 561 votes. Privette received 40.2 percent, or 377 votes.
Only 1.2 percent of the 78,358 registered voters in District 7 took the time to vote. A map on the board of elections website indicates Cooksey won 17 of the 20 precinct in District 7.
In all, 10,067 people voted in primaries across the city, which is 2.57 percent of the registered voters.
“I’m very pleased with the outcome, but obviously I wish more people had turned out to vote,” Cooksey said. “The turnout is disappointing to anyone who wants to see more people engaged in local government.”
For his part, Cooksey said he wants to renew an initiative he attempted in his first term: reaching out to local homeowners associations. People can email Cooksey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Privette, the results are disappointing, though the longtime south Charlotte resident said he felt he ought to take a shot at the election.
“I’m delighted that I ran,” Privette said. “Losing is never that easy, but I think I’m happier than if I had not run at all to try and make some change.”
Privette, who has little background in politics, portrayed himself as an alternative for south Charlotte voters looking for something different than what the current council offers. Privette spoke out during his campaign against the council and Cooksey’s spending habits in recent years.
• Patrick Cannon, current mayor pro tem; David Howard, an incumbent at-large candidate; Claire Fallon and Beth Pickering took the four Democratic spots for the at-large race. Cannon led the way with 30.74 percent, followed by Howard, with 23.84 percent; Fallon, with 17.87 percent; and Pickering, with 16.9 percent. The fifth candidate, Jarrisha Rorie, got 10.65 percent and was eliminated.
Those four will face five other candidates for the open four at-large seats. Alexander Vuchnich is the lone Libertarian candidate, while current at-large council member Edwin Peacock, as well as Christopher Hailey, Mohamed Moustafa and Curtis Watkins are the Republican nominees for those seats.
Current at-large council member Jason Burgess is not running for election after being named to fill the seat of Susan Burgess, his mother, after her death. Cannon, Howard and Peacock are the other incumbents.
• Current council member James “Smuggie” Mitchell appeared to win re-election to the District 2 seat by sweeping the Democrat primary, taking 71.31 percent of the vote in the four-person race. Mitchell’s ex-wife, Vivian, came in second, with 12.97 percent; followed by Gregg Greer, with 9.88 percent; and Cameron Gardner, with 5.84 percent.
Mitchell has no Republican challenger in the November general election.
• District 3 incumbent Warren Turner lost his primary Tuesday, only receiving 34.06 percent of the vote. LaWana Mayfield, who got 51.03 percent of the Democratic votes, will face Republican candidate Ed Toney for the seat in November. The third Democrat in the race, Svend Deal, received 14.91 percent.
• John Autry won the Democrat primary for the District 5 spot, with 48.72 percent of the vote. District 5 incumbent Nancy Carter is not seeking re-election. Darrell Bonapart came in a close second in the Democratic primary, with 43.89 percent, and Alex Hartley Jr. took 7.39 percent.
Autry faces Republican nominee Dennis Peterson for the District 2 seat in November.
There was no primary in:
•District 1, where incumbent council member Patsy Kinsey, a Democrat, will face the Republican challenger David Michael Rice.
• District 4, where incumbent Democrat Michael Barnes will face Republican Larry Shannon.
• District 6, where incumbent Republican Andy Dulin is running unopposed.