CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The most recent poll suggests a near dead heat for the Charlotte mayoral race.
NBC Charlotte caught up with the candidates on the eve of the election.
Both Kenny Smith, the Republican candidate, and Vi Lyles, the Democrat who beat out current mayor Jennifer Roberts in the primary, agree that the controversial bathroom bill and tangling with Raleigh need to be a thing of the past.
“We have spent the better part of two years the city government shouldn’t be involved in and they’ve divided," Smith said.
“We've got to build relationships with Raleigh and the Feds and we shouldn’t tackle controversial issues without having an understanding of what it means," Lyles said. "That’s the number one lesson learned from the non-discrimination ordinance.”
Beyond that, the candidates don’t agree on much.
Smith could be the first Republican since Pat McCrory left in 2009. Lyles would be the first African-American woman elected as Charlotte's mayor.
“It’s really about for me unifying the city around a common agenda, if you work here, you ought to be able to live here,” Lyles says.
Smith said this election is about battling the violence, a worrisome murder rate this year, and prepping for the growth Charlotte is expected to see.
“Our top priorities are safety infrastructure and jobs we want to get government back to focusing n the core functions of local government,” Smith said.
Early voting numbers show almost twice as many people voted early this year as did in the last mayoral race.
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