Peacock Falls Short in Charlotte

by | Nov 4, 2015 | Carolina Strategic Analysis, Demographic Trends, Features, NC Politics | 1 comment

Republicans now need two things to happen in order to elect one of their own as mayor of Charlotte: they need depressed minority turnout, and they need to absolutely crush in the suburbs.

During Edwin Peacock’s two campaigns for mayor, both those things have happened. Just not at the same time – and that’s why Democrats are going to retain the mayoral office with former County Commission chairwoman Jennifer Roberts.

Going into yesterday, the most recent polls showed Peacock trailing Roberts by quite a bit. But things on the ground looked more promising. Democrats (and African Americans) were way down in early voting, Republicans were up, and a nasty primary had some allies of the current mayor sitting on their hands.

As it turned out, Roberts did much worse in the early voting period and banked much fewer votes than Patrick Cannon, who won in 2013. But she did better on Election Day. While Cannon won Election Day 2013 voters by less than 200 votes, Roberts won Election Day 2015 voters with a margin of over 1,000. This would seem to lend support to the theory that Roberts suffered from lower African American turnout in the city but made up for it with stronger appeal to white voters in the suburbs.

So, while Roberts didn’t energize the black vote, her profile made her a better fit with white voters (and especially white women) than Patrick Cannon. In a nutshell, to win in Charlotte, GOP candidates need to absolutely dominate the suburban vote. They did it in ’13 but didn’t get the support they needed from the suburbs this time around. Precincts in southern Charlotte Peacock won two years ago 75-25 he instead carried 70-30 or 65-35. In precinct after precinct, that tends to add up.

Jennifer Roberts ran a fairly bland, non-risky campaign, emphasizing issues like education and women’s rights. She was the frontrunner from the very beginning, in both the primary and the general and never once relinquished her lead – due in no small part to her increased appeal with the generally Republican “soccer mom” vote.

Peacock made a good run this year. He just landed the wrong opponent.

1 Comment

  1. Troy

    Yes, well now. While you’re busy counting all the factors about the lackluster performance of Roberts and/or Cannon in this or previous elections, you left out one little elemental detail while ruminating why this demographic needs to stay home and why this other demographic showed less than stellar participation. Charlotte-Mecklenburg is getting a real time panoramic preview of some local Republicans who started local and made good on winning a bigger office. Despite all the pomp and fanfare of what those candidates promised to deliver, so far, its only been angst and controversy brought to themselves and the area.

    Charlotte has an image to maintain and those ‘hometown boys’ aren’t bringing accolades back and to the Queen City.

    You’re amazingly quiet on that aspect.

Related Posts


Get the latest posts from PoliticsNC delivered right to your inbox!

You have Successfully Subscribed!