02 May How we see Mecklenburg’s NC House races | Charlotte Observer
Mecklenburg voters will weigh in on contested N.C. House primaries in five districts this year. In two others — Districts 88 and 105 — candidates dropped out of the race but remain on the ballot. Here’s how we see the primary races.
Two Republicans will be listed on the primary ballot vying for incumbent Democrat Mary Belk’s seat, but Benton Blaine says he has dropped out of the race. Ty Turner will face Belk, who is unopposed in the primary, in November.
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Two Huntersville Democrats, Christy Clark and Branden Rosenlieb, are running for the chance to face incumbent Republican John Bradford in this district north of Charlotte.
Clark, a paralegal, and Rosenlieb, who works in the IT field, share similarly progressive views on most issues. Clark, however, is the more moderate and pragmatic of the two. (An example: Rosenlieb is a proponent of universal health care.)
Clark offers a strong familiarity with the General Assembly thanks to five years of work with gun violence prevention groups. Also, as a paralegal, Clark helps entrepreneurs and business owners launch their companies, giving her a keener insight into their challenges.
In this comfortably Republican district, a moderate Democrat has a better chance of upending Bradford, and Clark boasts a stronger network of support. Democrats who want to gain a seat in the NC House should give her the nod.
Four-term incumbent Democrat Rodney Moore is under investigation for suspected irregularities with his campaign funds. The gravity of the questions raised in that probe, and Moore’s insufficient response, render him unfit for another term.
Voters in this east Charlotte district have three adequate choices to replace Moore: Nasif Majeed, Priscilla Johnson and Jackson Pethtal. We give a slight nod to Majeed.
Majeed, a retired combat pilot and airline pilot, served on Charlotte’s City Council for eight years in the 1990s and now sits on the Planning Commission. He has remained active in grassroots politics since leaving the council, and says Moore asked him to run for the seat before Moore changed his mind about not running again. He has been endorsed by the Black Political Caucus, the N.C. Association of Educators and other groups.
Pethtal works in IT and is making his first run for office. He said he’s running to get a fresh face in the legislature and to help raise wages, including by raising the minimum wage.
Johnson, a retired flight attendant, ran for City Council last year, losing to District 4’s Greg Phipps.
Four Democrats battle to replace retiring Rep. Beverly Earle, who has represented this northwest Charlotte district for 24 years. Carolyn Logan stands out as the strongest.
Logan, who has lived in Charlotte since 1985, was North Carolina’s first black female Highway Patrol trooper, a role she filled for 23 years. Making her first run for office, she is focused on improving pay and work conditions for prison guards, teachers and other state employees. She is close to earning her bachelor’s in criminal justice from Belmont Abbey. She has won Earle’s support and the endorsement of the Black Political Caucus, MeckPAC and others.
Another candidate, Lucille Puckett, was evicted from public housing in 2011 when the Housing Authority said she had broken rules. She has twice run for Charlotte mayor and finished far behind. Chance Harris and Gregory Miller are also running.
Democrat Becky Carney, an eight-term incumbent, faces a challenge from 20-year-old Josh Jarrett.
Carney has been an effective legislator and a strong representative for Mecklenburg County, especially on health and education issues. She is known for her reasoned approach and her ability to collaborate and remain relevant even in a heavily Republican House.
Jarrett is an eager, energetic campaigner with a sound understanding of issues facing the state. A sophomore at Guilford College in Greensboro, he is extremely inexperienced. We recommend Carney.
Two Democrats are on the ballot in this district represented by incumbent Republican Scott Stone, but one — Ayoub Ouederni — dropped out of the race last month. Democrat Wesley Harris will face Stone, who is unopposed in the primary, in November.
Three-term incumbent Democrat Carla Cunningham faces a challenge from Blanche Penn.
Cunningham, a hospice nurse and the widow of former Rep. Pete Cunningham, focuses largely on poverty and mental health. She has not been especially effective in the Republican-dominated House, with most of her legislation buried in committees. She did get her bill on suicide prevention through the House and is working to increase nurse practitioners’ scope of practice.
Penn, a retired Parks and Rec employee , is an outspoken advocate for disabled children and education. She argues she would be more visible in the district than Cunningham has been. She ran unsuccessfully for school board District 3 last year.
We give a slight nod to Cunningham.