By: Aaron Daum
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(Above: Sheriff candidates Ensley and McFadden debate)
–Who: Democratic and Republican candidates (and a lone, brave Libertarian,) and most importantly, you, the voter!
–What: Voters will pick candidates who they feel either represents them the most or has the best chance of winning against the other party.
–When: Early voting is available until May 5th, and the official election day is May 8th.
–Where: This tool tells you your day-of polling place, and the districts that you will vote for: http://apps.meckboe.org/addressSearch_New.aspx. You can vote early at one of these locations: https://www.mecknc.gov/BOE/Documents/early%20voting%20calendar%20for%208PNCMECK.pdf
–Why: Voting is your civic duty! Also, people complained in 2016 that picking between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was like picking between the lesser of two evils. As many of us prepare to vote in our first-ever election, voting in a primary gives you the power to help make sure that such a disaster never happens again.
Candidate Highlights in Key Races:
List of candidates running in Mecklenburg, if you want to do your own research: http://apps.meckboe.org/CandidatePrint.aspx
Sheriff (3 Democrats, 0 Republicans):
-Irwin Carmichael, Democrat: Current Sheriff, and Mecklenburg county’s most prominent conservative Democrat. He supports the county’s 287(g) program, which partners federal and county immigration officers to deport undocumented immigrants from the county. He also supports video visits, which eliminates in-person meetings but allow families to contact inmates whenever they desire, as well solitary confinement, which has been shown to be damaging to inmates. He’s worked with the sheriff’s office since 1986.
-Antoine Ensley, Democrat: Charlotte Human Resources officer and former police chief of Fletcher, NC. Ensley directly opposes Carmichael on 287(g), and his inmate policies, saying that video visits should be kept, but that inmates should also be able to see their families in person.
-Gary McFadden, Democrat: McFadden has spent 36 years with CMPD, including 20 years of service in the homicide department. He stands with Ensley in his opposition to the 287(g) program, and is strongly opposed to solitary confinement. He says that putting a person away without help just prolongs their problems.
Board of Commissioners At-Large (7 Democrats, 1 Republican):
You can vote for 3 candidates in this race!
-Trevor Fuller, Democrat: Fuller was the former chairman of the Board of County Commissioners, and wants to increase economic mobility in the city, guarantee Universal Pre-K, and work on making sure that affordable housing and secure jobs are available for all citizens.
-Jamie Hildreth, Democrat: Hildreth is a first-time candidate, and an avid advocate for affordable housing, increasing school funding, and expanding the Greenway project.
-Tigress Sydney Acute McDaniel, Democrat: Did that name sound weird? It’s a good representation of her campaign. McDaniel refuses to speak about actual issues, and hasn’t put forth any kind of platform. However, if equality and youthfulness are your top criteria for a candidate, she’s attacked the use of the word “deplorable” to describe conservatives, and her website screams Kanye.
-Ray McKinnon, Democrat: Like the other established candidates in this race, incumbent McKinnon supports a 15$ minimum wage, universal pre-k, increased funds for public schools, and affordable housing.
-Ella Scarborough, Democrat: The incumbent Commissioner hasn’t released any stances on issues, but you can get a pretty good idea of what she’s about in this 6-minute soundbite: https://soundcloud.com/keithrichardsbjmurphy/get-to-know-ella-scarbourough.
Board of Commissioners, District 2 (2 Democrats):
-Angela G. Edwards, Democrat: Edwards is a Church minister that ran unsuccessfully for the seat in 2016. She wants to stem gang violence in the city, and set up workshops for young mothers and teens to help them further their goals. She’s raised 6 children, and earned her GED in 1995.
-Vilma Leake, Democrat: Leake is the incumbent Commissioner from this district, and promises to continue pushing for vocational training for residents of her district. She also wants to do the best that she can to support small business owners.
Board of Commissioners, District 3 (3 Democrats):
-Angela Ambroise: A typical candidate for the BoC, Ambroise supports affordable housing, economic mobility, and educational equity. However, one thing that sets Ambroise apart from her competitors is her advocacy for universal healthcare, or at the very least increasing access within the county.
-George Dortche, Democrat: Though I was unable to find any information pertinent to Dortche’s campaign, I did find that he studied law at CPCC, and that he was convicted of marijuana possession 12 years ago in Durham.
-George Dunlap, Democrat: George is the incumbent Commissioner in this district, and worked with CMPD from 1978 to 2005. Dunlap supports Business Investment Grants, which provide about 85 dollars of revenue for every dollar spent on community businesses. As a former DARE officer, he is also supportive of a “Drug Court,” which helps expedite drug-specific cases, which allows a more intimate ability for law enforcement to address mental health and addiction issues in non-violent offenders.
Senate district 38 (4 Democrats, 1 Republican):
Senate districts 37, 40, and 41 all border district 38, however, each only have one Democrat and one Republican running.
-Roderick Davis, Democrat: Davis has run for Charlotte mayor, city council, and NC Senate in the past unsuccessfully in the past. His top priorities are public safety, workforce development, and education.
-Joel Ford, Democrat: Ford is the incumbent senator in this district, and has come under fire from his primary challengers for being too moderate in the Senate. He believes the best way to protect Democratic values is to work with the GOP to keep them from overriding the governor’s vetoes. Ford wants to invest in state transportation, reform the education and criminal justice systems, and make marijuana legal.
-Mujtaba Mohammed, Democrat: Mohammed is seen by many as Ford’s most credible challenger, and has been endorsed by the Black Political Caucus and Equality NC. Mohammed wants to ensure quality early education, pass a competitive pay act to attract good teachers, raise the minimum wage to 15$, invest in state infrastructure, and pass the Equal Pay for Equal Work act.
-Tim Wallis, Democrat: Wallis is a first time candidate and proponent of green energy, environmental protection, and reform our education system.
House district 98 (2 Democrats, 1 Republican):
The Democrats in this district are looking to flip the seat from Republican incumbent John Bradford.
-Christy Clark, Democrat: Clark is a state certified paralegal and has worked with the NC Secretary of State to assist small business owners. Clark wants to ensure protections for the LGBTQ, people of color, and women of North Carolina, expand access to health insurance, and pass “sensible” gun laws.
-Branden Rosenlieb, Democrat: Rosenlieb is one of the youngest Democrats running for office in the county, and may be one of the most liberal. He wants to ensure quality healthcare, take moderate steps to reduce gun violence, protect the environment form climate change with alternative energy, establish state net neutrality laws, and protect women’s health choices.
House district 106 (2 Democrats, 1 Republican):
-Carla Cunningham, Democrat: Cunningham is the incumbent representative from district 106. She is a big supporter of local veterans and first responders, wants to ensure safety for single women and their families, and increase funding for local education.
-Blanche Penn, Democrat: Penn has run for school board district 3 in the past, and has been working with the education system for several decades. She credits herself as a “freedom fighter” and as the best representative of the teachers and students in her district.
Candidate websites from apps.meckboe.org/CandidatePrint.aspx