CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Nearly two months before November’s general election, much of Charlotte City Council was set to be effectively chosen Tuesday, but two districts appeared headed for runoff elections next month.
The only district with no primary was District 3, covering much of west and southwest Charlotte. There, Democratic incumbent LaWana Mayfield will face Republican Eric Netter and Libertarian Travis C. Wheat in November.
Here’s how the voting broke down:
District 1: Charlotte Mayor Patsy Kinsey, who held the District 1 seat before being named to replace former Charlotte mayor Anthony Foxx, handily beat challenger Art Cardenas to win back her old seat.
Kinsey, a Democrat, faces no opponent in the general election.
With 27 of 29 precincts reporting late Tuesday, Kinsey was leading with 92 percent of the vote. She had 3,162 ballots to Cardenas’ 265.
Cardenas, who works in information technology for Carolinas Healthcare System, was making his first run for public office. It appeared Kinsey’s higher name recognition helped her win.
“I voted for Patsy Kinsey because I know her,” said Lois Timmons outside of First Ward Elementary School.
District 2: No winner emerged Tuesday night from a crowded field of five Democrats vying to replace James Mitchell, and District 2 appeared headed for a runoff vote Oct 8.
Mitchell held the seat for 14 years.
With 17 of 18 precincts reporting, no candidate had won the required 40 percent vote threshold to win the seat outright. Al Austin led with 34.7 percent of votes cast, Brenda Stevenson had 30.9 percent, and John White had 29 percent.
The winner of the Democratic primary will face Republican Darryl Broome in the November general election.
District 2 is solidly Democratic, with almost two-thirds of voters registered Democrats. The population is 60 percent African-American.
District 4: Four Democratic candidates split the vote and sent District 4 to a possible runoff election next month as well.
With 17 of 18 precincts reporting, Greg Phipps was just shy of the 40 percent vote threshold, with 39.9 percent of ballots cast. Wil Russel trailed with 21.2 percent; Leonard Richardson III, 19.75; and Levester Flowers, 19.15 percent.
No other candidates are currently running to oppose the winner of the Democratic primary. But activist Michael Zytkow is trying to collect enough signatures to run as an independent in the general election.
Democrat Michael Barnes has represented the district since 2005, but gave up his seat this year to seek an at-large spot on city council.
District 5: Incumbent Democrat John Autry easily beat Mitchell “Aerobo Cop” Smith-Bey to represent District 5 – which covers much of east Charlotte – for a second term on city council.
With 17 of 25 precincts counted, Autry had 71.5 percent of the vote, to Smith-Bey’s 28.8 percent.
Autry will face no opposition in November.
On the council, he closely allied with former Mayor Anthony Foxx on several key issues including the city’s $816.4 million capital improvement plan and efforts to build a streetcar. In August 2012, he successfully lobbied colleagues to buy the shuttered Eastland Mall in his district for $13.2 million.
The council is negotiating with Charlotte entrepreneur Bert Hesse for a public-private partnership to convert the mall property into a movie studio.
Making his first run for office, Smith-Bey created “Aerobo Cop” as part of a TV show for kids’ fitness that airs on Channel 16, the Government Channel.
District 6: Political newcomer Kenny Smith appeared to be the winner over Charlotte lawyer Kate Payerle in heavily Republican District 5.
With 33 of 35 precincts reporting, Smith had 49 percent of the vote to Payerle’s 43 percent. Of the other Republicans in the race, James Peterson had 5.6 percent and Ken Lindholm had 2.3 percent.
Smith, who faces no opposition in November, will fill a seat vacated by Republican Andy Dulin, who decided not to run for re-election.
He and Payerle are new to politics. Smith said he would have voted against the capital improvement plan, and criticized the council for giving the Panthers $87.5 million for stadium renovations and buying Eastland Mall for $13.2 million.
He’s been president of his neighborhood homeowners association, and worked to get the city to install crossing lights at Runnymede Lane and Barclay Downs Drive.
District 7: Retired banker and financial analyst Ed Driggs beat fellow Republicans Jay Privette and Duncan Wilson in a bid to replace outgoing council member Warren Cooksey.
Driggs will face Democrat Bakari Burton in the overwhelmingly Republican district.
With 18 of 20 precincts reporting, Driggs had 53.6 percent of the vote to Privette’s 40 percent. A third Republican, Duncan Wilson, had 6.3 percent.
Driggs has never held office, but is not new to Mecklenburg politics.
Last year, he narrowly lost the Republican primary to Bill James for county commissioner.
Privette supported moving much of the district from Charlotte and forming a new municipality called Providence.
He said the de-annexation is a “point of strength” that District 7 should keep as leverage to get more services from the city.