Thursday, August 11, 2011

Democratic National Convention 2012 Notebook: A mayoral campaign with national impact

Posted By on Thu, Aug 11, 2011 at 12:10 PM

Republican mayoral candidate Scott Stone
  • Republican mayoral candidate Scott Stone

Mayor Anthony Foxx formally announced his re-election campaign with a nod to the past and an eye on the future. It was a clever setting — Irwin Avenue Elementary — with an introduction by his former principal, Frances Waller, who remembered “young Anthony” for his “love for learning.”

Foxx talked about job growth and a local economy that has “diversified” on Monday, the day of a stock market sell-off. After the announcement, he acknowledged the economic “headwinds,” but told me he’s “working even harder to help our small businesses, in particular,” and said the city is investing in infrastructure.

His Republican opponent, Scott Stone, an executive with engineering and architecture firm Merrick & Company, has been touting his business bona fides, counting his lack of political experience as a positive, especially when it comes to job creation.

And, in this Charlotte mayoral campaign, DNC 2012 is an issue.

On his website, Stone says a GOP mayor will better safeguard the interests of Charlotte taxpayers and businesses during the event, and he predicts the DNC will use the convention to get a “toe-hold in North Carolina” for union labor.

In his announcement, Foxx counted securing the convention as a big plus, “which will bring thousands of visitors from across the world to our city and generate hundreds of millions of dollars of economic impact and international exposure.”

Though hardly the No. 1 thing on voters’ minds, dueling narratives on just what the convention will mean to the city have nudged into conversations about jobs, education and transportation.

Yes, local and national are inevitably intertwined, with the DNC team saying it’s much too soon to speculate about the fate of the transit center during the convention. (Will it or won’t it be moved?) Democratic National Convention Committee communications director Kristie Greco said: “Any assumptions about security plans or how the transit center will function during the Democratic Convention in September 2012 are extremely premature. Security plans will not be determined until much closer the convention. … The Uptown area and Charlotte's transit system will be open for business during the convention.”

Mary C. Curtis, an award-winning Charlotte, N.C.-based journalist, is a contributor to The Root, NPR, Creative Loafing and the Nieman Watchdog blog. Her “Keeping It Positive” segment airs Wednesdays at 7:10 on TV’s Fox News Rising Charlotte, and she was national correspondent for Politics Daily. Follow her on Twitter at

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