It’s an off-year for the federal election cycle, but it is very much an on-year for campaigns Charlotte’s next Mayor and 11 city council seats. Not only is this election critical for the future of the city, but it is a tremendous opportunity for first-time candidates ready to make a difference and run for office. The leaders elected this fall in Charlotte will be tasked with tackling difficult issues like housing, transit, and how the city budget is used. Fortunately, the Queen City has a unique set of circumstances making it possible for new, independent leaders to win their elections and get meaningful results for their constituents. With that in mind and the filing deadline coming up on July 21st, here are 6 reasons why YOU should run in Charlotte:
Across the country, more and more voters are identifying as independent. In a recent poll from Axios, 49% of the country identifies as independent. In the most recent election, 37% of people in Charlotte identified themselves as independents, indicating that even in a city that voter overwhelmingly for a Democrat mayor are not satisfied with what the two-party system offers. This is important to any insurgent political campaign, as “free-agent” independents are easier to convert to a reform-minded and people-powered movement.
Charlotte has a very young population that makes up a plurality of voters. Connecting with Gen-Z and Millennials is vital to any candidate, but the increasingly young population makes this especially true in Charlotte. Luckily, this generation is eager for change and willing to try something new. Over 50% of Millennials and Gen Z identify as politically independent, so opportunity is knocking.
From WFAE: “There’s not a Republican or Democratic way to fill a pothole. Police, fire, trash, roads are not partisan.”
Charlotte is just one of four cities in the state with partisan city council elections. Even though the city has a plurality of independents, the city council recently rejected a proposal to make the elections non-partisan. Why is this the case? This forces voters to choose between Democrats and Republicans, limiting the voter’s ability to choose the best person for the job and instead, simply look at the letter next to a candidate and fill in the bubble. This lack of competition hurts the power of the people to check their leaders and allows officials to get away with much more than they would otherwise. It’s also, however, a great opportunity for independent candidates to enter the race and serve as an exciting alternative to more of the same.
With all of the economic change, construction, and new companies coming in, Charlotte is changing a lot. The population is growing two, as Charlotte is the 6th fastest growing city in the country. New citizens and development require leaders that are ready to adapt and do what’s right for the city. Managing this change requires that leaders focus on the important things. Unfortunately, the current city council has prioritized extended the term limits of their seats and giving raises to key city allies. This gap between the issues that need real attention in Charlotte and what’s actually happening make it a great opportunity to serve your community and run for office.
Lastly, and most importantly, there are some key issues in Charlotte that have not been addressed. Housing affordability is decreasing and infrastructure for public transportation is not set up for long-term success. While these issues continue, the city is debating funding the NASCAR Hall of Fame for $1.4 Billlion, and the Panthers stadium is being funded for an additional $600 million with city revenue. As a council member, you’ll have a voice and power to craft the budget and focus spending on the areas that you think will have the most impact.
To wrap things up, a run for office is possible and winnable in Charlotte. Changing demographics, important issues, and unique advantages position a new generation of independent and people-powered leaders to change Durham for the better. If you’re interested in a run, check out Good Party’s free course, Good Party Academy, where you’ll learn the basics of running for office and leave with a decision about launching a campaign. Also, take a look at our free AI tools to help you plan and execute a potential campaign.