CHARLOTTE – Tariq Scott Bokhari had reason to feel doubly justified after the Nov. 5 election. South Charlotte residents voted to reelect him to a second term on the Charlotte City Council and the proposed sales tax benefiting the arts failed.
Bokhari campaigned on both fronts. He even paid for billboards showing a thumbs up for his reelection and a thumbs down for the sales tax.
“Thank you to all of our friends who have supported us through the years,” he told supporters on Facebook following the victory. “Last night was refreshing and energizing.”
About 57% of voters were against the sales tax, which would have paid for arts, parks and teacher supplements. Critics said the tax lacked oversight and didn’t address the community’s biggest priorities.
Bokhari earned 58.85% of the 18,914 votes cast in the District 6 race. He defeated Democrat Gina Navarrete, an organizer for the Charlotte Women’s March.
Republican Ed Driggs, who represents the Ballantyne area on the council, ran unopposed. Though there were no Democrats in the race, 694 write-in votes were cast, the second most of any of the council races.
Mayor Vi Lyles captured 77.23% of the 91,446 votes cast to defeat Republican challenger David Michael Rice, while at-large council members Julie Eiselt, Braxton Winston, James Mitchell and Dimple Ajmera kept Republican Joshua Richardson from a seat at the table.
The new council will include Larken Egleston, Malcolm Graham, Victoria Watlington, Renee Perkins Johnson and Matt Newton. Graham is a former state senator.
Elyse Dashew earned a second term on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education. She was the leading vote-getter in a race in which 13 candidates vied for three at-large seats.
“Voters of Mecklenburg County, thank you for allowing me to serve the children and educators of CMS for another four years,” Dashew wrote to supporters on her campaign Facebook page. “It is a tremendous honor and a responsibility that I do not take lightly. And now, together, let’s move forward with the work of connecting our students to the opportunities they so greatly need and deserve.”
Jennifer De La Jara, who is the education director at International House, and retired CMS principal Lenora Shipp will join Dashew on the board.
Stephanie Sneed, a former trial attorney, was shut out of a seat by 187 votes. The remaining nine candidates were at least 5,000 votes behind.
Voter turnout was at 17.05% with 123,348 residents casting ballots.